Sudan, FAO partner in new fisheries investment plan
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is helping Sudan, a country of 33 million people, develop a fisheries and aquaculture investment plan this year, to help the country develop multiple facets of the industry.
The new plan is intended to attract technical and financial support for the harnessing of Sudan’s inland and marine fisheries resources. It also includes plans to package investment opportunities in aquaculture for the private sector in a bid to ramp up production and promote fish safety, quality assurance, and value addition as it works to expand both local and international market access.
The investment plan, tentatively slated for completion and approval within this year after being agreed on last January, would also enable Sudan to effectively align its fisheries sector to the FAO’s Blue Growth Initiative and the FAO-World Bank-African Development Bank "African Package for Climate-resilient Ocean Economies" partnership, both of which promote sustainable fisheries development and management.
Although Sudan is endowed with substantial inland and marine fisheries resources – such as fin-fish, oysters, mussels, clams, crustaceans, corals, and other animal and plant organisms – the sector has remained largely underutilized and the new investment plan is expected to help the Sudanese government push the fisheries and aquaculture sector to the core of the search for food security and diversified economic growth.
FAO previously said that despite existing fisheries and aquaculture potential in Sudan, exploiting it has been hampered by “21 years of conflict which have led to prolonged isolation of fishing communities and disrupted trade and supply channels.”
The new fisheries and aquaculture investment plan is also expected to enable Sudan to address longstanding challenges which the FAO previously identified as lack a of, or inadequate “fisheries policies and management laws and regulations, monitoring and statistics, infrastructure and institutions, investments and financing, capacity and training, processing and marketing.”
With only 7,000 fishers, 1,500 of them engaged in marine fishing and an estimated 4,000 fishing boats, production of Sudan’s fisheries and aquaculture remains highly underdeveloped with the sector contributing less than 1 percent to the national economy.
The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, an intergovernmental organization responsible for the management of tuna and tuna-like species in the Indian Ocean, says Sudan’s artisanal annual fish potential could be as much as 10,000 metric tons of various fish varieties but “the current production is around 2,000 metric tons per annum and the fishing is mostly done with simple equipment.”
Other reports estimate Sudan’s total “potentially harvestable inland fish catch at about 110 thousand tons, including the Red Sea fish that account for only 10 thousand tons per annum.”
Currently, Sudan, which is a member of the Committee on FAO Council’s Committee on Fisheries, relies on the Nile river system as a main source of artisanal fisheries supported by the lakes Gabal Awlia, Marew Dams, Lake Nasir and Rosaries which have been created by the damming of the trans-boundary river.
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