42. The Workshop was briefed by Mr Harris on the structure of FAO and on the priorities of its Fisheries Programme. It was pointed that some ten years ago, FAO undertook a process of decentralization to achieve the following:
43. The Workshop was informed that with decentralization, technical assistance was nearer to the Members, the response to regional and country needs and requests was faster; and that the cost of delivery was reduced significantly.
44. The Workshop noted that the fisheries priorities in the Subregional Office for Southern and East Africa can be identified and agreed through the following FAO fora:
45. The Workshop was informed that within the FAO Fisheries Department, technical support was provided to Members by the following Divisions:
46. The Workshop noted that FAO could provide technical support to Members using its regular programme funds (RP) for normative and field activities and Technical Cooperation Programme/Projects (TCP). Other vehicles for support available to member countries were through Trust Funds, partnerships such as the World Bank, Africa Development Bank (AFBD), Global Environmental Facility (GEF), etc.
47. Participants formed into five Working Groups to jointly identify some of the major fisheries issues within the Southern and East African subregion and to consider ways that FAO and other international organizations could collaborate and assist the subregion in addressing some of these issues.
48. The main subregional issues were identified as: declining fish catches; weak institutional capacity for research, fisheries development and management; management of some stocks largely being undertaken by non-regional countries; a lack of accurate information on many of the fisheries resources; insufficient exchange of information on monitoring control and surveillance; need for better assessment of stocks and particularly to move from single species to multispecies, ecosystem approaches; inadequate research into and management of shared fisheries resources.
49. Invariably, the Working Groups identified inadequate human, financial and technical resources as the major constraints underlying most of the fisheries issues in the subregion. In addition, there were insufficient channels of communication for dialogue and ways of cooperatively optimising the use of meagre resources. It was considered that existing RFMOs tended to focus only on capture fisheries and neglected the growing importance of aquaculture. RFMOs therefore required strengthening in order to enhance regional cooperation in many fields. Other constraints identified were: weak policies and/or outdated legislation, lack of cooperation in MCS activities between countries of the region, inadequate reporting by foreign and local vessels, lack of information for fisheries management and inadequate data collection structure and procedures.
50. Solutions to these constraints focused on the need to increase the availability of human, material and financial resources in support of national capacity building. There was general agreement that resources had to be mobilised both internally through national funding and externally through FAO assistance and the donor community. It was noted that some countries did not charge fees for the exploitation of their fisheries and marine resources or that where such fees were in place, they were either nominal, or that the systems of fee collection were not effective. For such countries, the effective introduction of levies could increase the funds available internally. The example was given of Namibia where the costs of all fisheries administration, research and management is passed onto the fishing industry through various fees and levies. While this was perhaps a special case of a country with large fishery resources, the principle of having the fisheries sector pay for all the management costs had relevance to several other countries of the subregion with semi-industrial and industrial fisheries.
51. It was noted that within the subregion, there were some differences between countries in the levels of technological advancement within the fisheries sector (in both capture fisheries and aquaculture). Increased technological and information exchange among countries in the subregion could boost fisheries production and more importantly ensure sustainability and add value to the production. It was felt that existing regional mechanisms could be better utilised (such as the SADC Protocol on Fisheries and the SADC Council of Fisheries Ministers) and cooperation should be increased through RFMOs and programmes (such as the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), the South East Atlantic Fisheries Organization (SEAFO), the Benguela Environment Fisheries Inter-action and Training (BENEFIT) Programme and the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME) Programme). Where such organizations and programmes did not exist, their establishment should be accorded high priority as it was considered that these were useful vehicles to address some of the major regional fisheries constraints. The view was expressed that RFMOs should not only focus on capture fisheries but increasingly also cater for developments in aquaculture. Other solutions suggested included: national reviews of policies and update legislation to harmonize with regional requirements; establishment and/or enhancement of regional MCS networks including building capacity in inspection as well as acceding to and implementing the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and relevant instruments (e.g., the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement and the 1993 FAO Compliance Agreement); better assessment of available stocks and exploratory surveys for new fisheries, and increasing regional participation in research programmes.
52. FAO and other international organizations could help address these issues by:
the formation and operationalization of RFMOs;
continuing to provide technical assistance and expertise in ongoing or new programmes;
bringing together political leaders, managers, scientists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders to strengthen national, regional and international cooperation; and
the FAO Subregional Office in Harare should consider organizing a technical consultation on the regional fisheries issues identified so that regional FAO Members can prioritize their importance and develop appropriate strategies to address them.