Regional News Thu, 10 Jun 2021

Workshop on inclusive fisheries governance framework held in Accra

Workshop on inclusive fisheries governance framework held in Accra

A regional workshop on the popularization and dissemination of a comprehensive strategic framework for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development for the West Africa region has been held in Accra.

The two-day meeting was to improve awareness on the regional framework and also to solicit the inputs and concerns of ECOWAS member states to ensure its smooth implementation.

The workshop was also to help member states develop a roadmap that will facilitate the alignment of national strategies towards the harmonization of fisheries governance across the sub-region.

Participants included key officials from member states of the Fisheries Committee of the West and Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) and non-coastal ECOWAS member states, private sector actors in the fisheries and aquaculture value chain as well as observers from donor agencies in the regional fisheries sector.

Director of Agriculture and Rural Development at the ECOWAS Commission, Alain Traore, told journalists that the meeting was a platform to engage member states on priorities and key actions that could be undertaken in the short, medium and long-term towards the implementation of the strategic framework.

“This is an interactive meeting to solicit the views and suggestions from members countries on this comprehensive strategic framework."

"We will also look at other issues on fisheries governance and negotiations of fisheries subsidies, in terms of agreeing to conduct a common negotiation with the European Union on the subsidies to ensure that member states get maximum profits from the sector,” he said.

Mr. Traore mentioned illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and the weak development of aquaculture as key challenges across the region and indicated that the strategic framework will create the enabling environment for the private sector to invest in fisheries and aquaculture.

“The time has come for the implementation of all the existing strategic action plans on fisheries attract investments, create jobs and that is the main objective of the regional framework,” he added.

Chief Director at the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Kwasi Armo-Himbson, said the strategic framework for fisheries and aquaculture would help Ghana and other state members to tackle depleting marine fish stocks and other issues pertaining to governance.

“As a country, we are looking at how best to fill in the gaps in the fisheries and aquaculture sector and so this workshop that is looking at strategies is very useful for us."

"Already, we are working to improve our marine stock by turning to aquaculture development to see how best we can use that one to fill the gaps,” he said.

The comprehensive strategic framework for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development (CSF SFAD) framework was adopted by ECOWAS ministers in charge of Fisheries and Aquaculture in November 2020.

According to Ndiaga Gueye, Senior Fisheries and Aquaculture Officer at the FAO Regional Office for Africa, the development of fisheries and aquaculture within the West Africa region was extremely important in both the social, cultural and economic context.

“This is what the FAO is promoting and raising awareness about so that fisheries issues would be taken into serious consideration in the formulation of policy interventions."

Promoting the sustainable use of fisheries, he added, will be highly necessary to the development of Africa with more than 2million people relying directly or indirectly on the sector.
Source: Patrick Paintsil, Contributor