EU to finance sustainable fisheries in ACP regions
The European Union and member-countries including Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Group (ACP), have partnered to support the integration of the fishing and aquaculture sector’s economic, environmental, and social components through a USD 44.5 million (EUR 40 million) project.
The project, FISH4ACP, “will invest in value chains to stimulate inclusive growth, bolster food security and minimize impact on the marine environment,” according to an ACP statement. It will also make it possible to identify and resolve lingering fishing industry growth obstacles such as lack of access to viable markets, low value addition levels, poor working conditions, and overexploitation of the offshore and onshore fish resources.
In the agreement, signed during the recent Our Oceans 2019 Conference in Oslo, Norway, both fisheries and aquaculture value chains in Africa will benefit from the project, including “inland and marine fisheries, involving catfish, small pelagics, oyster, shrimp and tilapia value chains from Nigeria to Zimbabwe, and from Lake Tanganyika to São Tomé and Príncipe and the continent’s Atlantic shores.”
According to the ACP Group Secretary General Patrick Gomes, who has led the inter-regional organization for nearly five years, “there is an urgent need to boost the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in ACP countries as they contribute significantly to economic growth, decent jobs, food security and nutrition.”
He described FISH4ACP, which could also lead to a reduction in food losses and waste, as a “valuable initiative” that will contribute immensely to the harnessing of the huge fisheries and aquaculture potential in the ACP regions.
The FISH4ACP, which was designed by the ACP Group member countries and set to be implemented with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), will be officially launched in the first quarter of 2020.
Signing of financing for the FISH4ACP project comes nearly two years after the adoption of the ACP Blue Growth Initiative by fisheries ministers from the 79 ACP-member countries.
The funds for the project will be from the European Development Fund and will be co-managed by the ACP and the European Commission. The effort is expected to boost capture fishery production in the three regions, which reported a jump in output volumes from 4.6 million in 1990 to 8.5 million metric tons (MT) in 2016 according to FAO.
Furthermore, the U.N. agency says over a period of nearly 30 years to 2016, the three regions’ aquaculture production rose from 50,000 (MT) to 790,000 “but still represents less than 1 percent of global production.”
Africa and the Pacific fish exports to the E.U. accounted for 50 percent of the respective region’s total exports by 2016 while the Caribbean share was estimated at 15 percent, making the European market one of the critical markets for the growth and survival of ACP region’s fisheries and aquaculture sector.
Photo courtesy of EU/ACP