American Red Cross and FAO team up to restore fisheries and aquaculture in tsunami-affected communities

American Red Cross and FAO team up to restore fisheries and aquaculture in tsunami-affected communities

10/05/2007

The American Red Cross and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have announced the launch of a new partnership to support the recovery of fishing communities in Indonesia's Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province affected by the 2004 tsunami.

The US $7.5 million project will help promote responsible and sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture that are relied on by coastal communities for food, income and employment. More effective management of these two important food production sectors is also needed to avoid over fishing and prevent further damage to recovering coastal ecosystems.

The American Red Cross is providing financial support while FAO will take the lead in implementing the project. Over the next three years, the UN agency will provide technical and planning assistance and conduct training activities aimed at improving the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture for the people of Aceh.

“We are excited to be working in partnership with FAO on a project that will have a significant impact in restoring these communities,” said Gerald Anderson, Senior Director of the Tsunami Recovery Program for the American Red Cross. “Not only will the project provide people with essential needs—like food and income—but it will also help them to develop the capacity to manage fisheries for the long-term.”

The project will provide technical support to national and local authorities as well as to people living in these communities. Approximately 750 Indonesian government officials at the national, provincial and local levels and around 4,000 people in fishing and fish farming communities will participate. Indirectly, the project will benefit another 770,000 people by providing food and increased economic opportunities.

By focusing on longer-term planning, good management and improved post-harvest fish handling and marketing practices, the project will address concerns that existed prior to the 2004 tsunami but which were exacerbated by the disaster and the scale of reconstruction activity that followed it.

"These capacity-building measures seek to foster sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture in Aceh after the tsunami, and to ensure the future well-being of the thousands of people who depend on them," explained Ichiro Nomura, Assistant Director-General of FAO's Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.

In March, 100 fishermen, aquaculturalists and officials from tsunami-affected districts met in Banda Aceh to discuss local needs and plan the way forward, leading to the launch of this innovative partnership project.