Experts say Africa’s small-scale fisheries critical to food security and blue economy Updated for 2021

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Updated: March 2, 2021

Africa’s small-scale fisheries play a critical role in global food security and must be supported with greater research and investment, say international and African experts.

Industry, NGO, government and academic representatives attended Murdoch University’s second Blue Economy Symposium in Tunis last week as part of the Africa Blue Economy Forum (ABEF) 2019 and Murdoch University’s Third Commission, a research investigation focusing on issues of public concern to Africa.

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Fish accounts for more than one-fifth of the protein intake of Africans south of the Sahara and provides a livelihood to millions of people.

Murdoch University Adjunct Professor, Dr. Jeremy Prince, who attended the symposium and is contributing to the work the Third Commission in this area, said the collective value of the small scale fisheries of Africa was too big to ignore.

“It is critical that we stabilise and rebuild these fisheries to ensure both food security and the future of the blue economy,” Dr Prince said. “The time to act is now.”

Discussions at the Tunis symposium provided useful insights and contributions to the fine-tuning of the focus and narrative of the Blue Economy chapter of the Third Commission’s report. A strong emphasis was placed on the need to highlight clear and innovative actions to effect lasting transformation of the blue economy in Africa.

Participants in the symposium called on all nations and international institutions to recognize the value and economic impact of small-scale fisheries in Africa.

Their recommendations included: Increasing investment to allow fishing communities to be more involved in the co-management of fisheries; and Directly engaging with fishing communities to collect and share relevant data regarding the state and economic value of small-scale coastal fisheries.

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