Having regard to the Charter and the Statutes of the CAOPA, which take into account the International conventions, legislations and agreements on the environment, on decent work in the fishing sector, and are inspired by the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.
Whereas most of the exploitation of the fisheries resources by African small-scale fishers is done within a few tens of kilometers in the coastal zone, – a fragile zone threatened by climate change and the increasing pressure of activities including fishing as well as other uses of the coast.
Noting the increasing pressures from industrialised countries looking for fishing possibilities in West Africa for stocks which are mostly overfished.
Whereas most fishing agreements signed by the West African countries with distant-water fishing nations are based on the existence of unproven surplus, do not take into account wider impacts on the eco-systems, lack transparency, and present risk for the sustainability of artisanal fishing activities, and for the processing and marketing of fisheries products in our region.
Whereas other access possibilities offered to vessels from foreign origin, including through the setting up of joint ventures or chartering, are opaque, do not present guarantees in terms of expected social and economic benefits for our countries, and in terms of contribution to the sustainable exploitation of our resources;
Welcoming efforts by FAO and its partners, especially the artisanal fisheries professional organizations, towards the implementation of the voluntary international guidelines for sustainable artisanal fisheries.
Conscious of the urgent necessity of the involvement of the fisheries administrations, fishworkers and their organizations, development partners, professionals from the network of journalists for responsible fisheries in West Africa (REJOPRAO) and all relevant stakeholders towards the popularisation, the dissemination and the taking into account of the FAO guidelines into the fisheries policies and strategies;
Considering the concerns of African coastal communities about the impacts of climate change on the future of their populations and the artisanal fishing activities;
Whereas climate change will have a considerable impact on the abundance and distribution of fish, in particular small pelagics, on which disadvantaged populations depend for their food.
Considering the particular vulnerability of women in African fisheries, which play a central role to ensure the food security of populations through the processing and marketing activities of fishery products, and contribute decisively to the well-being of families and the education of the children.
Noting the recent developments in the search for mechanisms towards the financing of the fisheries sector activities and the commitment of various agencies and Development Funds to support artisanal fisheries in this search;
We, men and women of African small-scale fishing communities, members of the CAOPA,
Recommend to our States:
– To strengthen the taking into account of the women in fisheries’ interests, to build their capacity and their autonomy, thus acting on unequal initial situations between women and men;
– To better prepare the negotiations of the fisheries agreements, with the effective participation of all stakeholders in the whole process, in a transparent manner, and based of the best research advice;
– To ensure the activities of joint ventures and other types of access offered to vessels of foreign origin are transparent, do not compete with sustainable artisanal fishing operations, are in line with sustainable fisheries exploitation and deliver expected social and economic benefits;
– To support the establishment of national and regional programmes for the popularisation and dissemination of the International Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Artisanal Fisheries adopted by the COFI;
To promote and share the results of studies aimed at assessing the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of coastal communities to climate change and identify policies and strategies to support these communities;
– To promote and encourage the establishment of financing systems adapted to the realities and the needs of the artisanal sector.