Policies for Fisheries Development
In Nile Basin Countries
Dr. Ahmed Barrania
Institute of National Planning
Cairo, November, 2007
In many African countries including NBI member countries fish does play a significant role in food security through its contribution to people's well-being and income, including foreign currency earning from exports and as a readily available food supply. According to the World Fish Center, the fish sector makes vital contribution to food and nutrition security of 200 million Africans and provides income for over 10 million engaged in fish production, processing and trade. Moreover, fish has become a leading export commodity for Africa with an annual export value of US $ 2.7 bn.
Fish Resources are an essential component of the water ecosystem marine, fresh or brackish waters.
Per capita fish consumption in Africa is projected to decline by 2020, driven by increasing population and declining incomes. To verse this trend the contribution of fish to food and nutritional security needs to be better appreciated by decision makers and supported through more adequate and coherent policies both at national and regional levels. In this context volume of fish that is traded within Africa, and its role in the nutrition of people especially in urban communities, needs to be recognized
The objective of this paper is to identify -in brief- the constraints and barriers to fisheries development with the purpose of to determine the objectives of policy reform and needed actions for development of fish industry.
The paper includes three topics; first one includes background information on the fish industry, while the second topic deals with the main constraints hamper development process, and the third one concluded the proposed development policies and actions to be taken to overcome the standing constraints.
I. Background Information:
- Different Water bodies in NB region afforded very important potential for fisheries and aquaculture. These include Indian oceans (Kenya and Tanzania), Atlantic Ocean (Democratic Republic of Congo-D.R.C.), Red sea (Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea) and Mediterranean Sea (Egypt), various gulfs, lagoons, rivers (mainly Nile), the natural and man-made lakes (reservoirs) and swamps. These fisheries resources could play a much more important role in meeting increased demand for food, and in activating the economies of NB countries.
- The coastline of the NB countries total 142184 km long and a continental shelf area of 212770 km.sq.
- Inland waters are estimated to have an area of about 211232 square km..()
- The NB countries fish production from all resources (Marine, inland and aquaculture) was 2047.1 thousand tons in 2004 or about of 34 percent of the Africa's catches and 1.2 percent of the world catches in the same year().
- With regard to the contribution of fish supplies from aquaculture to NB fisheries resources in both marine and fresh waters, the increase over the period from 2001-2004 has been much more significant and much more promising for any future expansion in NB fisheries industries. In 2001 the total aquaculture production was 357.8 thousand metric tons increasing to 489.9 thousand metric tons in 2004, an increase of 37.0 percent. In 2004 aquaculture contributed about 23.9 percent of the total NB fish production..
- In fact many NB countries fisheries mainly inland fisheries are transboundry resources. The long-term sustainability of these fisheries is dependent on maintaining the freshwater ecosystems on which they depend through sustainable management plans. However, these plans require collaboration cross national and state or provincial boundaries. Capacity to initiate or pursue such approaches needs to be developed and institutions that can foster this supported.
- The average per capita fish consumption in the NB countries in 2004 was about 6.57 kg/year compared with the world average of about 16.4 kg/year.
- NB region with its 10 countries and 335.3 millions people, has so far a limited role in global fish trade.
- While the world’s fish trade volume has significantly increased from US$ 116.1 billion in 2001 to US$146.8 billion in 2004 i.e. 26%, NB countries fish trade has decreased by 0.4% percent ( US$ 417.6 million in 2001 and US $ 415.8 million in 2004 ).
- Eu is the main and end market for the most of NB countries with total fish exports of 346 thousand tons valued US $ 206 million in 2004. That represents about 64% percent of total quantity of the NB region fish exports.
II. Main constraints hamper development:
- The capture fisheries are to be over-exploited. Reducing the number of vessels, as one of possible solution, would likely result in higher catches per vessel and in higher total landings.
- A wide range of sources causes degradation of water bodies and consequently adverse impacts on its fish resources sustainability.
- Despite national, regional and international efforts, current policies and legislations for fish resources protection have not always proved capable of achieving sustainability of fish resources. Achieving sustainability is often impeded because there is a lack of will to make management decisions or because decisions that have been made are not enacted either due to a lack of will or alack of capacity to act on them. Inappropriate incentives and lack of good governance are often predominant issues preventing sustainability and both link to the absence of secure rights. There is a need to make better progress in the implementation of international instruments relating to sustainability at the national and regional levels.
- Fishermen live in small isolated settlements along the shores of coastal and inland waters. This situation, coupled with high illiteracy amongst them, engenders the absence of crucial information, not only within the communities of fisher folks themselves but also between these and the outside. This hampers their access to appropriate technology for fish preservation and processing as well as their ability to access information on resource and markets. The Region is also characterized by low dissemination of appropriate techniques leading to insufficient knowledge of the fish handling, preservation, and processing and distribution methods used.
- Political and civil unrest in many countries much affect inter-state fishing operations as well as intra-regional fish trade.
- Lack of harmonization and /or enforcement in fisheries policy, and regulations among states continue to hamper the development of intra-regional trade in fish and fishery product
III. PROPOSED POLICIES
The revision of fishery policies is an important issue for the sector development. To achieve the full potential of the NB countries fisheries from all resources i.e. inland, aquaculture and marine, the following policies are proposed:
● Support regional and basin-wide fisheries bodies to manage shared resources.
● Raise awareness amongst planners and decision-makers at regional level to integrate fisheries concerns into land and water management.
● Pursue ecosystem-based approaches to river and watershed planning and management.
● Improve capacity building (including training for strategic and cross-sartorial planning).
● develop basin-wide monitoring and information systems and promote establishment of compatible legislative frameworks across basin and between sartorial management agencies
· Apply preventive, precautionary and anticipatory approaches so as to avoid degradation of the marine environment and its fish resources.
· Ensure prior assessment of activities that may have significant adverse impacts upon fish resources.
· Develop economic incentives, where appropriate, such as polluter pays principle, so as to avoid degradation of fish resources.
· Establishing or improving, as necessary, regulatory and economic tools for fisheries management.
· Promoting environmental impact assessment (EIA) to help ensure an acceptable level of fisheries protection.
· States should take effective actions consistent with international laws and Code of Conduct for responsible Fishing to monitor and control fishing activities to ensure compliance with applicable conservation and management rules.
· Improvements in the fishing sector conditions, infrastructure on board and in the landing sites, roads communications networks, processing, trading establishments, and fish inspection services are the prerequisites for good quality and safe fish products oriented for the intra-regional trade. Also, a trade information network on responsible fishing of the resources, appropriate technology, demanded product forms, lucrative markets and rules and regulations are necessary in market access.
· The statistical database on NB fisheries should be improved. Awareness, education, training and information of the social and economic importance of the sector will help to improve its performance and to strengthen livelihoods in the sector.
● strengthening the regional trade information network to provide data on raw material, intermediate inputs annual supply and demand as well as consumption pattern.
● Development of standards, quality assurance, certification and methodology.
● Expanding the scope of trade information network by establishing contacts and promoting information flows among trading organizations; such as commercial enterprise export and marketing bodies to link-up with other sub-regional institutions in the Region.
● Organization of training programmers to improve the skills of national officials utilizing existing institutions available in the region.
() FAO, source book inland fisheries resources of Africa Vol.3 Rom, 1991.