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FAO, ECOWAS, EU Partner to Boost Fishery Production across West Africa



Fishery Production in Africa

By Rosemary Iwuala

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Economic of West African States (ECOWAS) and the European Union (EU) has partnered to boost fishery production in West Africa.

This was made known during a meeting with experts to discuss and draw a road map for the utilisation of the results to adopt a sustainable management of the fisheries resources of the ECOWAS maritime domain.

The meeting tagged ‘Improved Regional Fisheries Governance in Western Africa (PESCAO)’ is funded by the European Union (EU), while FAO provides technical support.

FAO, Institut Agro, and the University of Portsmouth are leading the projects that make up the Component 3 of PESCAO.

Throughout their assignment under PESCAO they have improved collaboration between fisheries research and fisheries actors, boosting knowledge of fisheries, its data systems and its management across West Africa.

Fred Kafeero, FAO Representative in Nigeria and ECOWAS, said, “The workshop is aimed at sharing the outcomes of Component 3 and ensuring the deserved level of visibility of the PESCAO programme.

He said the role and importance that ECOWAS attaches to fisheries development, fisheries management and the promotion of regional cooperation demonstrates how countries must take a leading role and set narratives in sustainable fisheries governance in West Africa and beyond.

He commended the European Union (EU) and the European Commission for their support in promoting sustainable fisheries development in West Africa and their commitment to the region’s fishery capacity development and fishing communities.

Kafeero, who was represented by the Head of FAO Nigeria, Northeast Office, Al Hassan Cisse, said the state of fisheries in the ECOWAS region is complex and varies depending on the country and the sub-region.

He noted that the fish which is a source of income for millions of people faces enormous pressure and threats of overexploitation; illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; poor management practices that cripples the progress towards sustainable fisheries; especially the Small-scale fisheries sector, the back-bone of fishing communities, so we must do more.

He however, reaffirmed FAO’s commitment, and that of its partners of L’Institute Agro and the University of Plymouth to continue technical support towards sustainable fisheries in the region.

Also speaking, Urszula Solkiewicz, Programme Officer, Regional Co-operation Section of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria, and ECOWAS, said, “As I am speaking to a community of fisheries’ experts, you will agree that a typical marine ecosystem is a dynamic and complicated network of natural populations, sometimes spread over tens of thousands of square meters, continually changing due to unpredictable meteorological and marine environments.

According to Solkiewicz, developed and implemented in close partnership with ECOWAS, the PESCAO programme has been effective in laying the foundations for supporting the a Western Africa Fisheries and Aquaculture Regional Policy, which now serves as a Roadmap to the community.

She also said that the three-day Regional Meeting will enable the policy makers to meet the scientists in order to discuss what has been delivered and how those results should be later utilised at the national and regional level.

Amadou Tall, The PESCAO Programme Team Leader, said that “by leveraging the expertise of the various institutions, regional organisations, and communities in the West Africa region will set the narrative for fisheries governance and ensure that these vital resources are managed sustainably across the ECOWAS maritime domain and beyond

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