The vision for IDAF phase III
Development strategy during the 1960 and 1970s was based on the philosophy that developing countries lacked improved technology and capital for speeding up their development. Industrialization was promoted in order to capitalize on the abundant fish resources. However, the anticipated expansion of the economy did not happen and the development approach shifted towards an integrated rural strategy where emphasis is put on the community as a whole to upgrade incomes and the quality of life through technical assistance and the active participation of fisherfolk and the community.
In this context, emphasis was initially placed on the Community Fishery Centre (CFC) concept as a means of promoting artisanal fishery development. But it became apparent that the presence of a complex of facilities and services tailored to meet local needs was no guarantee that the structures/facilities would be used or that development would occur. The active participation of fisherfolk and the mobilisation of local and community resources was imperative in order to assure sustainability of initiatives undertaken by development projects and/or the community.
So far and in general terms, the IDAF Programme has worked under the context of abundant or seemingly adequate fishery resources with moderate population pressure. The scenario is however changing (and very fast for that matter) and we would soon face the triple constraints of reduced or depleting fish stocks, degrading environment and increasing population pressure. Like in other sectors, it must be anticipated that just to survive, parts of the population surplus in the fishing communities will enter the artisanal fisheries, which will increase the competition for the resources among the small scale fisherfolk in addition to the prevailing competition between the artisanal and industrial fisheries, with their attendant effect on the environment.
This scenario calls for a continuation of the integrated participatory strategy which remains relevant to the development of artisanal fisheries in West Africa. However, the emphasis needs to be placed on the elements and mechanisms that favour the sustainability of initiatives: responsible fishing, the empowerment processes that ensure the devolution of major resource management and development decisions to the local community, the strengthening of national human and institutional capacities at all levels for a sustainable and equitable fisheries resources management and development, as well as in the follow-up and consolidation of past achievements.
Thus the development objective of the Programme in the present phase II} which started on 1 July 1994 is to ensure twenty coastal West African countries a sustainable development and management of their artisanal fisheries for maximum social and economic benefit of their fishing communities in terms of employment, proteins and earnings. This will be done through an integrated and participatory approach in which emphasis will be laid on equity, gender issues, the transfer of technology for development, environment protection, as well as the strengthening of human and institutional capacities.
The immediate objectives are:
1. To identify, assess and disseminate strategies and mechanisms for sustainable management and development of the artisanal fisheries in fishing communities;
2. To improve the competence of national Fisheries Departments staff in development and management planning of artisanal fisheries;
3. To enhance regional technical competence in the fisheries disciplines, particularly in fishing and fish technology;
4. To improve information and experience exchange related to artisanal fisheries within the region;
5. To promote regional and sub-regional collaboration for the development and management of artisanal fisheries
In this context, IDAF will among other things tackle the following major aspects in it's work:
- assisting in the elaboration and implementation of a clear and coherent national development policy for the artisanal fishery sector;
- providing advice on management and allocation of resources between artisanal and industrial fishing fleets, both national and foreign;
- involving users in the design and management of on shore infrastructures;
- monitoring the sector's evolution by the setting up of an economic indicator system for the sector adapted to the financial and human availabilities;
- improving fishing technologies in accordance with the available resources;
- increasing the final product's value by improvement in processing and marketing;
- promoting community development in accordance with the lessons learned from Phase I and II and oriented towards the sustainability of actions undertaken;
- reinforce the Programme's information/communication system.
It is anticipated that by the end of the third phase of the Project, the region will have a nucleus of field oriented experts capable to respond to the challenges of the artisanal fisheries sector and to spur development in their individual countries in keeping with the aspirations and needs of fisherfolk.