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1. The Committee for Inland Fisheries of Africa held its First Session in Fort-Lamy, Chad, from 29 November to 5 December 1972 at the kind invitation of the Government of the Republic of Chad. The Session was attended by representatives of 18 member countries of the Committee1. Observers from France, UNDP Projects in Africa and from two international organizations were present. The list of participants is given in Appendix A of this report. The opening ceremony was also attended by representatives of the Diplomatic Corps.

2. The Session was opened by Mr. M.C. Mensah, FAO Regional Representative for Africa. He introduced the Minister of State in charge of Agriculture for Chad, His Excellency Michel Djidingar, who welcomed the Delegates on behalf of the President of the Republic of Chad. His speech is given in Appendix B of this report.

3. Mr. Mensah thanked the representative of the Government of Chad for having invited the Committee to hold its First Session in Fort-Lamy and for the excellent arrangements. He welcomed the participants on behalf of the Director General of FAO, Mr. A. Boerma and expressed the regrets of Mr. F.E. Popper, Assistant-Director General (Fisheries) for not being able to attend. He then outlined the broad aims of the Committee, underlining the need for international cooperation with respect to the development and management of the fishery resources of Africa. His speech is given in Appendix C.

4. Mr. Mensah then introduced Mr. F. Bonnevie, UNDP Resident Representative in Chad, who outlined the activities of the UNDP, particularly in the field of fisheries and the possibilities of UNDP assisting in the further development of inland fisheries. See Appendix D.

1 All member countries are listed in Appendix A.


5. The Committee adopted the Agenda as presented (Appendix F). The documents placed before the Committee are listed in Appendix G. The Statutes and Rules of Procedure are given in Appendixes H and I, respectively.


6. Messrs. J. Nicolas (Chad) and S. Semakula (Uganda) were elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Session respectively.

7. In the temporary absence of Mr. Nicolas, Mr. Semakula took the Chair.


8. The Rules of Procedure were discussed rule by rule and adopted with amendments to paragraphs 1 and 6 of Rule IV, which now read as follows (additions underscored):

Rule IV, para.1

The Committee shall normally hold only such sessions in each biennium as are listed in the Programme of Work of the Organization for the relevant period, subject, however, to the authority of the Director General to make exceptions when in consultation with the Committee and in his view such action is necessary for the fulfilment of the Programme of Work as approved by the Conference; such exceptions being reported to the session of the Council immediately following such action.”

Rule IV, para.6

A majority of the Members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum, that is half the number of members plus one.


9. The Symposium was held under Item 4 of the Agenda of the First Session of CIFA, and was moderated by Dr. J. Okedi (Uganda).

10. Two panel discussions and 17 papers were presented. On the basis of the discussions, six recommendations were drafted for consideration by the Plenary Session.

11. A separate report has been prepared for the Symposium (CIFA Technical Paper No.2).


12. The meeting was called to order by Mr. J. Nicolas, who thanked the delegates for having paid Chad the honour of electing him Chairman and apologized for having been unable to attend the opening meeting.

13. He then called upon Mr. H.C. Winsor, Director of Operations, FAO Department of Fisheries, to introduce Agenda Item 5.

14. Before opening the debates, he relayed a message from Dr. S.E. El-Zarka, FAO Regional Officer for the Near East Region, wishing the session success and expressing his regrets for not being able to attend for health reasons. He then read a cable from the former FAO Regional Fisheries Officer for Africa, Mr. W.H.L. Allsopp, expressing the interest of the International Development Research Centre (Canada), for which he is Associate Director for Fisheries, to cooperate with CIFA in action oriented projects identified during the session.

15. The meeting requested the Secretariat to convey to Dr. El-Zarka its best wishes and its thanks to the IDRC for its offer of collaboration.

16. A brief survey of documents CIFA/72/5 - Definition of possible areas of work for CIFA, and CIFA/72/6 - Possible mechanisms for implementation of areas of work, was presented.

17. The Chairman then called on Dr. J. Okedi, Moderator of the Symposium, to present a summary of the recommendations arising from the Symposium.

18. The Chairman thanked Dr. Okedi for his presentation and opened the discussion by inviting the delegates to establish their priorities for action based on the documentation and recommendations of the Symposium.

19. All of the 18 delegations present formulated their priorities which were generally discussed. At the close of the morning sitting, the Secretariat was requested to summarize the major points arising form the discussions.

20. The Chairman opened the afternoon sitting by requesting Mr. Winsor to present the summary prepared by the Secretariat.

21. The priorities identified were grouped under eight headings:

22. The need for training at all levels was emphasized as a major problem throughout the CIFA area. Attention was drawn to the difference in requirements for training the lower and higher cadres.

23. Some delegations felt that both cadres can be best trained on a national level. Other delegations, whilst agreeing that the lower cadres can be adequately trained on a national basis, felt that there is a real need for the regional training of the higher cadres.

24. The Niger delegation, supported by the delegation from Ivory Coast, proposed a Regional Training Centre to be located in French-speaking West Africa. Nigeria also suggested that a Regional Centre be sited in Nigeria. The Secretariat pointed out that such centres could only be established if adequate funds were available. It was, therefore, recommended:

Recommendation CIFA/72/1 - that the Director General provide assistance to interested countries for the preparation of requests for either regional or national training centres and to use his good offices in locating funds for the establishment and support of these centres.

25. The delegates from Tanzania and Uganda pointed out that their training centres were open to English-speaking Africans.

26. The recommendation of the Symposium with respect to the establishment of subsidiary bodies on individual international waters was then discussed. The three riparian countries of Lake Victoria expressed their desire of having FAO assistance in establishing a sub-committee on Lake Victoria fisheries to coordinate their activities in the management of the fisheries of the Lake. It was pointed out that other countries facing similar problems might also consider the possibility of establishing such a body. It was, therefore, recommended:

Recommendation CIFA/72/2 - that the Director General of FAO provide assistance in the formulation of agreements between countries expressing formal interest in establishing bodies for the joint management of individual international waters, and to ensure that such bodies obtain full advantage of the scientific and technical support of CIFA.

27. Recognizing the importance of the continuation of the evaluation and monitoring of stocks, it was recommended:

Recommendation CIFA/72/3 - that the present efforts be continued by a correspondence working group in the inter-sessional period and that an ad hoc meeting on stock evaluation be held at the Second Session of CIFA. It was agreed that the composition of the group be established by the Director General.

28. Attention was drawn to the need for communication between the member countries of CIFA. It was pointed out that the creation of the CIFA publication series, together with existing African journals, will solve the immediate problems of dissemination of information. It was, therefore, recommended:

Recommendation CIFA/72/4 - that an appropriate series of documentation be established for the dissemination of information in the working languages of the Committee to the member countries of CIFA.

29. It was further recommended:

Recommendation CIFA/72/5 - that until such time as Fishery Data Centres are established in Africa full use be made of the existing facilities within FAO for the assembling and dissemination of information; and furthermore:

Recommendation CIFA/72/6 - that member countries and their research institutions communicate all such pertinent data to the FAO Fishery Data Centre which should be suitably strengthened to satisfy these ends.

30. Concerning the standardization of fishery data reporting, it was recommended:

Recommendation CIFA/72/7 - that a correspondence working group be established to investigate the possibilities for the standardization of data reporting.

31. Strong interest was expressed by several delegations in furthering the development of aquaculture in their countries. The delegates were informed of the FAO plans to convene a world meeting on aquaculture in 1975. This meeting is being preceded by a series of regional meetings covering all aspects of aquaculture. It was recommended:

Recommendation CIFA/72/8 - that a three-pronged approach be adopted. Firstly, that a compilation of data on culturable fish species, both native and exotic, be prepared. Secondly, that a working party be convened before the next session to consider the economics of fish culture practices, fish disease control and improvement of stocks. Thirdly, that a Symposium on aquaculture be held in conjunction with the Second Session of CIFA.

32. The Chairman called on Dr. R.L. Welcomme to introduce the conclusions of the Symposium on the evaluation of fishery resources in the development and management of inland fisheries with respect to floodplain fisheries. It was pointed out that this resource which produces a considerable proportion of the freshwater fish caught in Africa is endangered by climatic change, agricultural and engineering interventions. In view of the small amount of information existing on these fisheries, the importance of initiating and expanding work in this direction was emphasized. It was recommended:

Recommendation CIFA/72/9 - that a correspondence working group be established for the collection of existing data on floodplain fisheries and for the stimulation of research on these areas, and that members of the group should subsequently meet in order to prepare a technical publication on the subject.

33. Even though nearly all of the activities of CIFA are directed at problems of artisanal fisheries, there remains a need to adopt an approach involving many disciplines to identify those factors which are limiting to the fishery and to ensure an integrated solution. It was, therefore, recommended:

Recommendation CIFA/72/10 - that a working group be established to compile and evaluate information on artisanal fisheries and to prepare guidelines for future development programmes in this field.

34. It was further recommended:

Recommendation CIFA/72/11 - that the Director General of FAO seek sources for the financing of a multi-disciplinary team which would visit countries upon request to study local situations and recommend programmes for integrated artisanal fisheries development.

35. Support was expressed for the principle that a project be located on Lake Tanganyika which would also be a suitable pilot area for the work of the team.


36. The Chairman asked for any other items which the delegates might wish to bring to the attention of the Committee.

37. The question of sport fishing was raised. Several delegates spoke on its importance in their countries. It was suggested that CIFA give some priority to sport fishing in the future deliberations.

38. The suggestion was made that when the reply was made to the cable from the Inter-national Development Research Centre (Canada), it should indicate that note was taken of their offer to support projects and that concrete proposals would be forthcoming, particularly in the fields of processing and problems of insect infestation of fish products.

39. The Secretariat requested the delegates to make sure that all fishery reports, data, etc., be sent to the FAO Fishery Data Centre. It was also suggested that those fishery workers who have not as yet sent in completed information forms do so as soon as possible so that a revised and indexed list of inland fishery workers of Africa can be issued.

40. The question of participation in future sessions was raised. The Secretariat replied that all member countries would automatically be invited to attend the next session, and that for those countries that had not yet indicated their wish to be members, a reminder would be sent requesting their decision. For those countries who had indicated that they did not wish to be considered for membership, a letter inviting reconsideration would be sent along with a copy of the report of the First Session.

41. The matter of locating the Headquarters of CIFA in Africa was brought up. It was pointed out that costs would be very great and that much more was involved than just the CIFA Secretariat being located in Africa.

42. At present all Article VI-2 bodies are headquartered in Rome. In the case of CIFA, it was mentioned that the FAO Regional Fishery Officers in Africa were Regional Secretaries and were considered as first contact points for CIFA matters.


43. The Chairman called for the election of officers for the next biennium and read the pertinent section from the Statutes.

44. The following nominations were proposed:

Mr. J. Nicolas (Chad) as Chairman, and Messrs. S. Semakula (Uganda), E.O. Bayagbona (Nigeria), A. Latif (Egypt) as Vice-Chairmen. They were duly elected.


45. The Chairman asked for suggestions. As no offer to host the next session was made, the Secretariat indicated that it would contact the member countries in due course to ascertain a possible host country. Failing this, the Second Session would be held in Rome.

46. The Secretariat proposed that the date of the next session be early in 1975 in order to have CIFA sessions in the odd years to balance various sessions of FAO Committee. This was agreed.


47. The report was unanimously approved.


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