Djibouti-based Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-country trade bloc in Africa comprising of governments from the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley, and the African Great Lakes, is stepping up efforts to synchronize Africa's sustainable fishing activities to achieve a 3 million metric tons (MT) of production per year, up from the current 1 million MT.
Representatives from seven of the eight IGAD members met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, between 16 and 18 August, 2022, under the IGAD Fisheries Coordination Platform. The participants reviewed sustainable fisheries projects in each of the countries, and resolved to improve ongoing country-level measures to support alignment of “the actions promoting sustainable fisheries in the Horn of Africa.”
The meeting, the second after a similar one in September 2021 “is an opportunity to assess the progress made regarding Ecofish program activities within the region covered by IGAD,” Ethiopia State Minister of Agriculture Fikru Regassa said.
During the meeting, representatives of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda presented initiatives, opportunities, and challenges faced by their respective countries regarding the fisheries sector, and highlighted the achievements of some of the various local initiatives supported by Ecofish.
Ecofish, a EUR 50 billion (USD 50 billion) program promoting the sustainable management of inland and marine coastal fisheries resources in Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, and the Indian Ocean, is currently spearheading several fisheries projects in IGAD member-states – including those on Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, and marine seafood initiatives along the Indian Ocean coastline. In Kenya, Ecofish is involved in a joint WWF project to advance sustainable growth of small-scale fisheries to improve of food security and local livelihoods in coastal Kenya and across East Africa.
The program is also linked to the SOS Sahel Sudan project that seeks improved economic resilience and food security for the artisanal fishers on the northern Sudan Red Sea coast.
Ecofish is also part of an IGAD project that support sustainable utilization, development, and management of fisheries on two transboundary basins of the Baro-Akobo-Sobat River – between Ethiopia and South Sudan and Lake Turkana – that is shared between Ethiopia and Kenya.
During the meeting, participants resolved to implement some of the best practices shared by various stakeholders in attendance, and committed to ensuring any future actions in their respective fishery sectors leverage on existing national synergies – and those that can be created – to align the needs of the region’s inland and marine seafood market operations.
Photo courtesy of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development