The African Union has initiated a process to develop a new policy framework for fisheries governance on the continent.
Masifundise and a number of other small-scale fisher organisations have been invited to give inputs as part of the process.
Despite a few challenges, we will use every opportunity to relentlessly advance our vision of sustainable livelihoods and food security for small scale fishers.
On 4 to 6 June this year, Josh Cox represented Masifundise at a think tank meeting in Cote d’Ivoire. The meeting was called to look at developing a fisheries policy framework and reform strategy for the continent. The idea arose at a CAMFA (Conference of African Ministers for Fisheries and Aquaculture) held in 2010 and was adopted at the African Union Summit in February 2011.
The workshop was attended by representatives from the AU, Nepad, FAO, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFBs), WWF, IUCN, aquaculture experts and the World Bank. Small-scale fishers were also represented by Seynabou Ndoye, from Senegal (Women Fishmonger Network – RAFEP), Abdul Koroma from Sierra Leone (SLAFU) and Charles Bakundakwita from WADAF.
Objectives of the workshop included getting agreement on the scope and nature of the policy, promoting stakeholder ownership of the process, to identify critical issues in African fisheries and to define timelines.
Various technical presentations were delivered and discussions held on key issues relating to marine capture fisheries, inland capture fisheries and aquaculture.
A purpose and vision for the policy framework was developed.
- To provide structured guidance to Africa’s fisheries management agencies, development assistance donor agencies, technical institutions and other stakeholders involved in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.
- To prioritise prospectus of opportunities to facilitate the implementation of coherent national and regional policy options that take full advantage of socio-economic benefits and opportunities of the continent’s fisheries and aquaculture endowments.
Sustainable management and utilization of fisheries and aquaculture resources through a conducive and enabling environment for equitable, economic and social development in Africa.
Stakeholder consultations will take place in the five African regions during September and a draft policy will be considered in November. The aim is to get the policy framework adopted in February 2013.
Masifundise has been invited by the AU-IBAR to serve on the assessment team for Southern Africa.
Masifundise will continue to highlight the following issues:
- the critical importance of building and protecting livelihoods and food security for small scale fishers
- that large industrial (and mostly foreign) fleets overfish and destroy habitats and not open entry small-scale fisheries.
- the importance of regional African trade in an environment where there is much focus on the European Union.
- the important role that women play in the sector and the critical need to ensure their inclusion in fisheries management and policy-making