African fisheries ministers urge adoption of SADC Protocol on Fisheries

The government ministers of the Southern African Development Community.

Agriculture, fisheries, and qquaculture ministers from 14 countries that are members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have issued a report on the organization's Protocol on Fisheries, which seeks to harmonize the countries’ domestic fisheries legislation.

The ministers met on 13 May, 2022 in Lilongwe, Malawi, to review the steps SADC member-states have made toward advancing the protocol.

Although the details of the report are yet to be made public, the ministers’ joint statement issued after the meeting indicated some of the countries within the SADC have yet to accede to the protocol even though the protocol was endorsed in 2001 by the heads of state of each of the SADC member-countries. One of the meeting’s resolutions implored the holdout nations to formally adopt the protocol.

The protocol is expected to support the conservation and sustainable use of living aquatic resources and aquatic ecosystems within the jurisdiction of the 14 countries, and has several articles addressing cross-cutting issues on the management of shared resources such as inland water resources.

Within the SADC region, fish production has been on the increase due to an expansion in aquaculture in some SADC countries, led by Zambia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. In 2020, the SADC region reported an increase in aquaculture production to 100,950 metric tons, up from the 92,773 MT produced the previous year. Per-capita fish consumption in the region also rose to 11 kilograms per person, “which constitutes an average of 16 percent of the total animal protein intake and 5 percent of the total protein intake,” according to  theSADC.  

During their meeting, the ministers also commended several development partners working with SADC governments to implement sustainable fisheries and aquaculture projects. The African Development Bank, European Union, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Stop Illegal Fishing, Water Research Commission, WorldFish, and WWF are some of the SADC partners supporting the implementation of regional programs that aim to increase seafood production and promote intra-regional trade in fish products.

Photo courtesy of the Southern African Development Community. 


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