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ITA | Mar 14, 2023

African, Caribbean and Pacific countries ready to show true potential of their fisheries and aquaculture sectors

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Photo Credit: ©FAO/Sia Kambou

A key fisheries and aquaculture development programme implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has highlighted significant potential to boost these sectors in Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Tanzania, Guyana and the Marshall Islands, making them more self-sufficient, creating jobs and preserving biological stock levels.

The countries are the first five of 12 African, Caribbean and Pacific states analysed by the global fish value chain development programme, FISH4ACP. Implemented by FAO, this initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) focuses on making fisheries and aquaculture value chains more productive and sustainable, with an emphasis on supporting women given their crucial role in fish value chains (the whole process of adding value to the product).

“This initiative marks an important step towards a blue transformation of fisheries and aquaculture in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, benefitting not just fishers and their communities but ensuring that
growth goes hand in hand with environmental sustainability and social inclusiveness,” said Gilles Van De Walle, chief technical adviser for FISH4ACP.

“We are thrilled to see FISH4ACP moving into action to unlock the potential of fisheries and aquaculture in ACP countries. There is an urgency to boost our fisheries and aquaculture sectors because they greatly contribute to economic growth, decent jobs, and food and nutrition security,” said Cristelle Pratt, assistant secretary-general at OACPS.

Funding from the EU and Germany

FISH4ACP is being implemented with €47 million in funding from the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

“The focus on all three aspects of sustainability – the economic, the environmental and the social – sets this programme apart. Now that FISH4ACP is entering a new phase, it will be able to strike a balance between production and protection, to contribute towards fair income distribution and decent working conditions and to champion sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific,” said Leonard Mizzi, head of unit in EU Directorate General for International Partnerships.

FISH4ACP’s innovative approach will boost the supply of aquatic foods, economic returns and social equity, and reduce negative impacts on the marine environment.

Hendrik Denker, deputy head of the BMZ Division for Food and Nutrition Security, Global Food Policy and Fisheries

“We are delighted to see that FISH4ACP is now ready to put its comprehensive value chain approach at work in support of fisheries and aquaculture development. It is key that it takes all players into account, at all stages – from net to plate. FISH4ACP’s innovative approach will boost the supply of aquatic foods, economic returns and social equity, and reduce negative impacts on the marine environment,” says Hendrik Denker, deputy head of the BMZ Division for Food and Nutrition Security, Global Food Policy and Fisheries.

The publication of its first five reports provides a baseline for supporting the countries in strengthening their fish value chains, increasing self-sufficiency in fish production, creating local jobs and maintaining sustainable stock levels.

Among the reports’ findings are:

  • A need to tackle declining catches of a variety of prawn, known as seabob, in Guyana, while promoting artisanal fisheries, particularly strengthening the position of women. Key opportunities include a strong demand from the United States (US) and European markets for more high-value seabob. The opportunities can be maximised if biological stock issues can be addressed, bigger shrimp can be caught, then there will be a strong domestic demand for fresh seabob that can be sold to restaurants and supermarkets. 
  • The Marshall Islands can generate more value and local jobs from the multi-million dollar tuna trade, boosting it to $55 million by 2031. This can be done using one type of vessel and strengthening  its position as a leading hub for tuna through transshipment and containerisation, with Marshall Islands-based companies incentivised to shift to new and more efficient loading machines for filling containers with tuna. This will bring down the cost of packing and shipping tuna in containers and allow the fish to be sorted, fetching a higher price.
  • By tapping into Senegal’s oyster production and boosting the number of oyster farms, the study found great potential to meet local demand and support development of modern oyster farming. By 2031, the country aims to boost national production by 30 per cent to 21,000 tones to cover more than 80 per cent of domestic demand, with added value nearly tripling to $12.6 million, and full-time jobs nearly doubling from 6,500 to 11,000.
  • Potential to leverage increasing consumer demand and market opportunities in Tanzania to improve sustainability of Lake Tanganyika’s sardine, sprat and perch fisheries and bridge the gender gap. Using better processing and cold chain techniques, improved business models with more participation by women and better compliance with fisheries legislation can help to boost value added in the sector by 12 per cent and increase fish processors’ incomes by an average of 42 per cent.

The FISH4ACP value chain analysis is based on 5,200 interviewees, with more than 100 focus groups and 50 stakeholder workshops organised to validate findings. The five value chain assessment reports published (Côte d’Ivoire, Guyana, Marshall Islands, Senegal, Tanzania) helped to field test FAO’s value chain analysis method which will be published in the months to come.

FAO’s work in fisheries and aquaculture promotes the effective management of aquatic living resources and the development of capacities to ensure equitable outcomes for all. It is geared towards bringing about a Blue Transformation, a vision committed to building sustainability and resilience.

Much of FISH4ACP’s work addresses the needs of artisanal fishers, fish farmers and fish workers. The value of small-scale fisheries and aquaculture for our food systems, our livelihoods and our environment has been celebrated through the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA), which draws to a close on 31 March.

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