Wednesday, July 24, 2024

COMESA concerned with marginalisation of the fish industry

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The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has expressed concern with the continued marginalisation of the fisheries industry in the Eastern, Southern and Indian Ocean regions.

COMESA Assistant Secretary-General–Programmes Kipyego Cheluget says the fisheries sector is one of the fastest-growing industries as fish and fish products are one of the most widely traded food commodities due to their nutritional and economic wellbeing of people.

Dr. Cheluget however, noted that despite the significant role that the sector plays especially to small-scale fisheries and contribution to the global poverty reduction the sector has not attracted much attention from national and global policies.

“Despite the significant importance of fisheries as a sector, especially the small scale and potential to contribute to; poverty alleviation, a large number of small scale fisheries in the EA,SA and IO region are not in a good state, “he said.

ZANIS reports that, Dr. Cheluget was speaking in Lusaka today during the opening of the steering committee meeting of the ECOFISH programme on sustainable development of fisheries in Eastern, Southern and Indian Ocean regions.

The ECOFISH programme is a 28 million Euros European Union sponsored programme aimed at promoting equitable economic growth of sustainable fisheries in EA, SA and IO regions.

He said this is why COMESA will support its member states to implement their blue economy strategy in attaining sustainable development of the fisheries industry through programmes like the ECOFISH which is designed to create awareness and address challenges in the sector.

He added that proper implementation of sustainable development of fisheries through the ECOFISH programme will also help to take stock of the fisheries resources and protect them from overfishing and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing among others.

“There is need to strengthen our capacities in the sustainable development of our fisheries resources, including harmonisation of monitoring controls and surveillance to protect our resources, “he added.

EU Head of Cooperation, Milco Van Gool observed that there has been an increase in illegal fishing activities in most of the fish resources in the EA, SA and IO regions.

Mr. Gool said this is why there is need for concerted efforts from all member states to curtail the scourge by coming up with better fisheries management and supporting small scale fishing in the region.

He cited coming up with a single global framework and aligning a common set of values and objectives for a sustainable fisheries industry.

“It is essential that our actions to operate in synergy and deliver outputs and carryout joint surveillance patrols will enhance the fisheries sector in our regions, “said Mr. Gool.

Indian Ocean Commission Secretary General, Velayodoum Marimoutou has praised member states in the EA, SA and IO for the continued commitment to protect the fisheries resources and urged the countries to further devise innovative ways of achieving sustainable management of fisheries resources.

Prof Marimoutou, who spoke through Dev Phooker cited lack of expertise in decision making regarding the development of the fishing sector is one area that needs to be addressed through improving data and scientific information on World’s fishing catches.

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