LILONGWE, Malawi 30th November, 2021 (AEJ) - Experts participating in the Committee for Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa (CIFAA) 19th session in Lilongwe have called for digitization and use of innovative approaches to ensure sustainable utilisation of fishery resources on the continent. Scores of participants across Africa are following the proceedings virtually.
CIFAA is a regional fisheries advisory body established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) council in 1971 under Article VI, Paragraph 2 of the FAO constitution.
It aims to promote the development of inland fisheries and aquaculture, realizing significant contribution and prevailing common threats and challenges facing the fisheries sector.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, Malawi’s Director of Fisheries Friday Njaya underscored a need for multisectoral approach to tackle the challenges facing fishery resources as they contribute immensely to nations Gross Domestic Product.
“We have to ensure there is digitisation of fisheries and aquaculture sector and use of innovative approaches to fish farming,” Njaya said adding that CIFAA’s urge is contribute positively to help aquaculture development on the continent.
FAO, regional Office for Africa Abebe Haile Gabriel reiterated the important role inland fisheries and aquaculture play in meeting the needs of the people in Africa for both food and nutritional security. Gabriel added that inland fisheries and aquaculture contribution to social economic development is enormous hence the need for collective responsibility to safeguard the resource.
“As a result of important role played by fishery sector to support livelihoods. FAO is the lead UN Agency in the international Year of Fisheries and Aquaculture in 2022,” Gabriel announced to the participants.
Taking her turn, Malawi’s Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources, Nancy Tembo pointed out that platforms like CIFAA are placing fisheries and aquaculture on the development agenda. “This calls for a need to regulate the industry and ensure there is environmental sustainability in the manner ecosystems are being managed,” she made an appeal to all.
She added that fisheries and aquaculture contribute immensely to the different areas when it comes to UN Sustainable Development Goals which include poverty alleviation, climate action and the blue economy among others.
“Malawi has domesticated regional instruments through national aquaculture policy, national aquaculture strategic plan 2021- 2031 including SADC charter on monitoring and surveillance among other instruments. Ecosystem based fisheries approach is a major component in the sustainability of fisheries resources,” Tembo sounded the bell to the participants.
“We are also aligning all our policies to the MW2063,” she wrapped up.
Membership to CIFAA is open to all African states and associate members of FAO on the basis of active interest in the development of Africa’s inland fishery and potential contribution to effectively discharge functions of the committee.