The European Union (EU), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the representatives of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) have marked the signature of a grant agreement of EUR 6 million. The deal is to prepare an Action Plan to manage and develop the fishery sector and to reinforce fish and fish products contribution to food and nutrition security in the Eastern and Southern Africa-Indian Ocean (ESA-IO), where potential in this area is much higher than currently achieved.
“The fishery sector contributes significantly to the economic development and the eradication of poverty in the countries of the Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region”, said Alessandro Mariani, Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to Mauritius, for the Seychelles and the Union of Comoros.
“With this grant agreement, the EU aims at further supporting countries of the region towards the sustainable management and development of their fishery sector, including aquaculture”, he added.
There are two main objectives to the grant agreement to be implemented over two years: preparing an Action Plan for the 19 countries of the ESA-IO region and strengthening the role of fish and fish products in the region’s food and nutrition security.
The fishery sector could add significantly and on a long-term basis to food security, national wealth, economic growth and food security given conservation and sustainable exploitation of stocks.
Key activities that will be supported include:
The Action Plan for fishery management will address strategic priorities already identified by the Southwest Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC) and the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and the Committee for Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture of Africa (CIFAA) and the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation (LVFO).
The Agreement will be executed together with other initiatives such as the Programme in Support of the Implementation of the FAO Strategy for Fishery and Aquaculture in Africa, projects of the Secretariat of the Nairobi Convention on the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Eastern African Region, projects in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region as well as other EU schemes such as the EU Fisheries Partnerships Agreements.
Further, the Agreement covers two components of the SmartFish programme, which is an EU-funded first phase regional programme of EUR 21 million. Implementation started last June and will span two years.