FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

Capture fisheries and aquaculture provide not only an important source of protein for communities in the region, but are also a key source of livelihood for small-scale fishers along the coasts and inland waterways. This is in addition to those whose livelihoods are involved in the processing and marketing of fish and fish products.

Fisheries and aquaculture in Near East and North Africa

In order for fisheries and aquaculture to continue to play an important role in the nutrition and livelihoods of communities, the sustainability of both capture fisheries and the aquaculture sectors must become a top priority throughout the region, which remains plagued by a combination of challenges, including illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU), scarce water resources, as well as vulnerability to climate change impacts.

The agreed priorities for fisheries and aquaculture in the region and sub-regions of NENA include:  an increase of fisheries and aquaculture production in a sustainable manner; implementation of policies for effective and sustainable management; promotion of stakeholder participation in planning and managing fishery resources; optimization and rationalization of the exploitation of fisheries and aquaculture resources and lastly, the implementation of product valorisation throughout the fish chain.

FAO has been working on a number of programmes aimed at promoting and facilitating regional cooperation and management, supporting the development of freshwater aquaculture technology, and promoting the importance of reducing food losses and waste in the fisheries sector. 

Tools such as the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries and the Ecosystem Approach to Aquaculture, in combination with the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries play an increasingly important role in the sustainable management and development of the region's diverse fisheries and aquaculture sectors.