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SADC, FAO join hands to strengthen development and management of fisheries and aquaculture

The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Technical Committee on Fisheries has developed and recommended for ministerial approval,  Best Practice Guidelines for Aquaculture Management in the region. The tool, which address key environmental and social impacts issues common to all aquaculture activities, is vital for the development and management of the fisheries sector in SADC.

The guidelines are not prescriptive in terms of providing performance-based metrics; rather, they should be used by SADC Member States as a reference for drafting their own detailed BMPs specific to their environments, candidate species and production systems. The process of developing the guideline with member states began in 2018 through a collaboration between the SADC and FAO. A number member states have already started applying the regional guidelines developed within their management systems, so as to promote an economically, socially and environmentally responsible sector development.

In addition to the best practices guidelines, another tool was developed by the SADC with the support of the FAO, to help member states to monitor the implementation of the SADC Fisheries Protocol and consequently encourage progress and actions by member states towards its implementation. The technical committee urged Member States to work with the Secretariat and FAO to rollout implementation of the SADC Fisheries Protocol.

The Protocol covers 31 Articles with nine thematic areas, namely Protocol Arrangements and Responsibilities, Management of Resources, IUU, Artisanal, Subsistence and Small Scale commercial fisheries, Aquaculture, Management and Protection of the Aquatic Environment, Human Resources Development, Trade and Investment and Science and Technology. 

FAO and WorldFish supported SADC with a Platform for Genetics and Biodiversity Management in Aquaculture through a German funded project. This project was established partly with the aim of leading and developing a set of protocols to guide sustainable genetic improvement research and development programmes in the African and in particular SADC region, in particular with Malawi and Zambia.

The technical committee meeting was held in Windhoek, Namibia, and attended by almost 58 participants representing 13 SADC Member States including, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as a number of national, regional and sub-regional institutions.

FAO remains committed towards supporting SADC Secretariat as well as the Fisheries Bodies in the region, in capture  fisheries (marine and freshwater resources) and  in the aquaculture development and management sectors.

Fish is the most affordable source of dietary animal protein and therefore of overwhelming importance for food and nutrition security within SADC.

More About Fisheries and Aquaculture in SADC region

  • Fisheries and aquaculture sectors employ a total of about 2.6 million people of the SADC population.
  • The sector accounts for an estimated 3.5% of the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 11% of the region’s agriculture GDP.
  • The region consumes about 12.5kg per capita of fish, up from 11.3kg. More than 95% of this production comes from a diversified capture fisheries sub-sector, which has been stagnating in last 10 years or so around 2.5 million tonnes, but has recently increased to 2.92 million.

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