Livestock and Fisheries Deputy Minister Abdallah Ulega has called on the African Union member states to continue enhancing sustainable fishing since the sector plays an important socio-economic role in building national economies.
He said the economies are built through income generation, employment and food security thus supporting multitude of livelihoods.
Mr Ulega made the remarks on Tuesday when officiating the consultative meeting which among other involves the AU member states held in Dar es Salaam.
“We are all aware that there is an ever-increasing demand for fish and fisheries products over the past decade. Trade in fish and fishery products now constitute the most highly traded food commodities internationally, leading to increase in demand which have some negative impacts on the fishing ecosystems and environment as well as declining fish stocks,” he said.
He added” We are therefore facing common challenges in fisheries management such as overfished stocks, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, inadequate benefits from trade in fish and fish products, therefore, we need to be careful on how we meet this demand to enable us have sustainable fisheries industry in Africa”, insisted Mr Ulega.
According to him, the implementation of the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa and the African Fisheries Reform Mechanism will go a long way in helping AU member states to address some of those challenges and bring the sector to the reform path.
“Tanzania is committed to the conservation of our fisheries resources and sustainable development of aquaculture. My Ministry is working closely with the key players in the fisheries sector, including fishers, aqua farmers, fish processors and exporters, regional fisheries management bodies, relevant regional multilateral environment agreements, the private sector and the development partners to bring about reforms and improved governance of the fisheries sector with a view to increasing socio-economic benefits and stock sustainability”, he added
He further congratulated the African Union for spearheading the development of the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa (PFRS) as well as the African Fisheries Reform Mechanism (AFRM) and their proactive leadership in the implementation of the Fisheries Governance Projects (FISHGOV) in Africa.
He noted that the PFRS and the AFRM through the FISHGOV projects have provided the much needed guidance to the African Union Member States in the actualization of the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods.
The Director of AU-IBAR, Dr Nick Nwankpa said that the overall purpose of the meeting was in line with the activities as provided for by the FishGov 2 project.
He encouraged the participants to analyse the possibility for the programme to focus at key issues affecting all African countries and particularly prioritise a strategy to increase the rate of adoption, domestication and implementation of those Global Instruments as a gateway to tackle key challenges and constraints affecting the growth of the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
“Our attention should be on enhancing partnerships, participation in high seas fisheries, market access and integration, equitable investments, sustainable fisheries and resources exploitation and illegal fishing which result in depletion of the fisheries resources and loss of income amounting to billions of dollars for the continent”, Dr Nwankpa elaborated.