FAO Regional Office for Africa

FAO supporting the development a fisheries management coordination framework for the Eastern and Central Atlantic Ocean

The FAO Regional Fishery Body Secretariats’ Network (RSN), with support from the Fishery Committee for the Central and Eastern Atlantic (CECAF) Secretariat convened a regional consultation to develop an ocean governance coordination framework in the Eastern Central Atlantic Ocean in Ghana.

© FAO

5/12/2022 Accra, Ghana - A regional meeting was convened in Accra, Ghana to provide a unique coordination opportunity between Regional Fishery Advisory Bodies (RFABs), Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) and Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs) across and beyond the Central and Eastern Atlantic. Twelve international organisations participated in this event to promote and establish effective regional and sub-regional cooperative frameworks to develop concerted approaches on matters of common concern in regard to fisheries governance, including combating Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing. The organizations present were:

  • The African Union – InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU IBAR)
  • The Benguela Current Convention (BCC)
  • The Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem Project (CCLME)
  • The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
  • The Fishery Committee for the Central and Eastern Atlantic (CECAF)
  • The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC)
  • The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM)
  • The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)
  • The International Whaling Commission (IWC)
  • The Ministerial Conference on fisheries cooperation among African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean (ATLAFCO)
  • The Regional Fisheries Commission for the Gulf of Guinea (COREP)
  • The Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (CSRP)

Abebe Haile Gabriel, Assistant Director General (ADG) and FAO Regional Representative for Africa opened the event and emphasized the key role of Regional Fishery Management Organizations and Advisory Bodies play for sustainable fisheries and in combatting illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in this region particularly impacted by it. He encouraged continued partnerships and coordination between the organizations for improved cooperation benefiting the various Nations across the Africa region.

"It is essential to reinforce knowledges on the status, drivers and dynamics of Atlantic marine ecosystems, across regions, to better support appropriate management actions at the necessary scales, which can ensure the sustainability of marine resources and the protection of the global ocean commons under novel and continued development and exploitation." quoted the FAO RAF ADG.

Playing a coordination role, the CECAF Secretary and FAO RAF Senior Fisheries Officer, Ndiaga Gueye stated that "When talking about food security, we have images of fishing. Fish is indeed the most widely traded food product in the world and certainly the most nutritious. For a long time, fishery products have been "neglected" in discussions on food and nutritional security, even though they represent more than 20% on average of the protein intake of households in Sub-Saharan Africa." and stressed the need for improved mechanisms to manage shared stocks in particular.

Building on the outcomes of the Indian Ocean regional consultation

In June 2022, a similar regional consultation to coordinate a framework among Regional Fishery Bodies was conducted for the Western Indian Ocean in Maputo, Mozambique. Representatives of Indian Ocean RFB's and relevant regional and international organizations provided ways forwards on the coordinated regional sustainable use and conservation of shared marine living resources in the Indian Ocean.

This first consultation of this kind followed up on the recommendation from the 34th Session of FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) for FAO to strengthen its collaboration with relevant international organizations and RFBs to support sustainable development with an emphasis on promoting RFBs cooperation to ensure common approaches on a number of cross-cutting issues.

The RSN and CECAF

The RSN was established to facilitate information exchange among RFB Secretariats. Since 1999, under the margins of FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI). RSN meetings have provided valuable opportunities for RFBs established both within and outside the framework of FAO to exchange information on current challenges and emerging issues experienced by RFBs. More information on the RSN here.

The CECAF Committee was established in 1967 under Article VI (2) of the FAO Constitution. CECAF mandate is to promotes the sustainable utilization of the living marine resources within its area of competence by the proper management and development of the fisheries and fishing operations across the Member Nations and respective maritime zones. For mor information on CECAF, please visit the CECAF website.