STONE TOWN, Zanzibar City, Tanzania 11th November, 2021 (AEJ) - The African Union Development Agency – NEPAD and Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources, in liaison with the African Union Commission, communication department, are this week training Africa’s media professionals on the Indian ocean island of Zanzibar.
The media programme is meant to promote understanding and awareness on fisheries management and aquaculture development in the frame work of the renewed European Union supported Fisheries Governance FishGov-2 project.
In 2014, African Heads of States and Governments, recognizing the critical importance of fisheries and aquaculture sectors, adopted the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy (PFRS) that provides strategic guidance for developing these sectors on the continent.
The training is a follow up on FishGov-I that increased awareness of the importance of fisheries and aquaculture and created significant momentum towards strengthening the sector’s contribution to Africa’s growth. The project was successfully implemented between 2013 - 2018. Meanwhile, FishGov- 2 building up on the first phase of the governance project aims at “Enhancing sustainable fisheries management and aquaculture development in Africa – programme for accelerated reform of the sector was launched earlier this year.
FishGov-2 project will also among other things support evidence – based decision making on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture through improved knowledge, effective consultation, solid reporting, and the promotion of cross-sectoral approaches. It will also strive to promote the coherent implementation of the PFRS, facilitated at continental, regional and national levels; and finally strengthen African voice in international fora and domestication of global instruments.
Islam Seif Zanzibar’s Principal Secretary responsible for Trade and Industrialization said during his opening speech that he believed the training will provide a great opportunity for meeting minds, showcasing experiences, sharing expertise and opening of a regional and a global dialogue on sustainable fisheries in Africa.
“For Africa to achieve it sustainable fisheries objective. We must build appropriate fish port. We must develop our local fish processing equipment, we must empower our fishing communities to utilize the opportunity to explore deep sea fishing with modern fleets and equipment,” Seif, a fisheries expert by profession told participants at the Double Tree by Hilton conference Centre in Stone Town Zanzibar City.
AU-IBAR representative Patricia Lumba explained that the training workshop is a flagship initiative that is driven by a collaboration of AUDA-NEPAD and AU-IBAR in accelerating fisheries and aquaculture governance, as per the Africa Blue Economy Strategy and the PFRS for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa.
Additionally she added, the training seeks to serve as a pivotal milestone to strengthen and provide a platform for media to continue exchanging knowledge and lessons, as their experience in reporting grows within the context of having current information on the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
Lumba added that despite the pandemic, there has been an evolution of citizen science in the past few years – which refers to greater recognition in involving public participation and collaboration in scientific research to increase understanding of technical knowledge.
“Citizenry and accountability are therefore much more expected from media in promoting scientifically sound practices and measurable goals for public awareness. Modern trends call for than being recipients of information but ensures that media are also participating and collaborating in scientific research or technical knowledge,” Lumba provided direction.
AUDA – NEPAD Clement Adjorlolo urged media practitioners to relate the connection that is there between fisheries and aquaculture sectors to global instruments such as the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 14, life under water. He urged the media to articulate messages to ensure see the link to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
“At continental level, Agenda 2063 is the overarching framework, seven aspirations, 20 goals. The particular goal that relates to the training today is the blue economy strategy. Inclusive and reformed strategy that contributes to Africa transformation and growth. But also more importantly is that PFRS on fisheries and aquaculture on the continent,” Adjorlolo explained.
Malawi’s Department of Fisheries representative Andrew Saukani has welcomed the training as timely and befitting. Saukani said it fits well in the context of the sector in the country where governance issues and institutional networking are a top priority now. He also mentioned the need for ecosystem approach to fisheries management as paramount.