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FAO SmartFish supports small scale fisheries in Eastern-Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Region

11/07/2013 0:00 - 

SmartFish tackles hygiene and quality of fish product using innovative approaches

Post-harvest losses (PHL) in the fisheries sector are a major threat to food security in Africa. Statistical data shows that post-harvest losses in artisanal fisheries in Africa are estimated to range from 30–40 percent and sometimes even higher. Economic losses occur when spoilage of fish results in a decrease in value. Inadequate handling and processing methods can lead to nutritional loss. Such losses are unacceptable in a continent where food insecurity and poverty affects millions.

It is therefore imperative to undertake actions to reduce these losses. This will only be possible if fisher-folk, fish processors, traders, and consumers of fish products value the importance of hygiene and quality in the handling of fish.

In order to tackle this issue, the EU funded project SmartFish, managed by the Indian Ocean Commission and co-implemented by FAO has developed a multimedia awareness raising package that will be disseminated through the “Clean Fish, Better Life” campaign along 12 major landing sites around Lake Victoria.

The campaign will be launched on 13 of July in Kisumu, Kenya. The main feature of the launch will be the broadcasting of a participatory video, on the importance of hygiene and quality in small scale fisheries, realised with the direct involvement of beneficiaries, and will be at the forefront of the campaign.

The event will also feature a concert from performing artist Nazizi, writer of the song Usafi Ni Pesa (Hygiene Makes Money), which served as the sound track for the video.

In addition, the campaign will include cooking demonstrations from a fish recipe book produced by the project.

Mauritius: FAO promotes small-scale cage culture to support sustainable aquaculture development

Current overexploitation of the lagoon resources has led to reduced catches in the inshore fisheries in Mauritius. This issue is being tackled by the Fishermen Investment Trust (FIT) with the technical and financial support from the SmartFish Project.

A pilot project supporting an alternative income option for fisher-folks though the promotion of cage culture at two pre-identified locations, namely at Poste de Flacq and at Quatre soeurs, was recently launched. The ultimate objective of the project is to gradually help select fisher-folk to become fish farmers through diversification of opportunities such as fish cage culture at sea. The main species to be cultured will be the “Cordonnier” which has given good results in cage culture.

An international marine fish cage culture expert from FAO will be stationed in Mauritius from the 1st to the 11th July to technically support FIT on the implantation of the project, providing guidance on cage design and construction and delivering practical trainings for two selected cooperatives. In addition, an introductory seminar will be held, at the Albion Fisheries Research Centre (AFRC), on the management of cage culture on the 11th of July with opening remarks from the Minister of Fisheries of the Republic of Mauritius.

The AFRC will be the strategic partner of FIT for the project implementation providing fish juveniles and technical assistance free-of-charge for the first cycle to all new fish farmers. In collaboration with FIT, the AFRC will also monitor the various cage cultures around the island and assist the new fish farmers in obtaining the maximum benefit from the new business. The SmartFish Programme aims to contribute to enhance levels of social, economic and environmental development and deeper regional integration through improved capacities for the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources.

Usafi Ni Pesa

A participatory video on the importance of hygiene and quality in fishery products for better nutrition and income

Submitted by: Halpin Mark
FAO Office: FIP
Topics: Fisheries
Country: Kenya