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3.1 Planning constraints and priorities in African Fisheries

Absence of reliable data and statistics - great emphasis was laid on the need to obtain and ensure the reliability of the key fishery statistical data on which planning hinges. The greater the reliability of the data, the more accurate will be the projections. Often data will need to be extracted from secondary sources.

Inadequate research - the period of research should be clearly defined; the content of research must be clearly spelt out. Manpower planning of research workers is essential in order that, upon their return from training, they can be absorbed in the system. An appeal was made to donor agencies for financial support for applied research.

Lack of trained staff - some countries report manpower development as a constraint and therefore have to rely on overseas institutions for training (Lesotho, Zambia). Other countries such as Kenya have training facilities and would be willing to accept officers from other countries for manpower development. This underlines the need for regional cooperation in training thus making good use of local institutions and economizing foreign exchange.

Lack of finance - there are arbitrary factors in budgetary allocation and projects are not implemented on time. Better formulated fishery plans may convince authorities to give financial backing. The Ministry of Finance and other financial agencies should be involved at the planning stage.

Failure of fisheries planning - planning should start at the grassroots level, involving the fishermen. For example, a small-scale cooperative approach to fisheries is working well in Burundi and consequently it has the government's backing. There is need for information dissemination. Unforeseen external factors affecting long-term planning must be taken into account. These are: the effects of drought on fishery planning, the effects of pollution, and undue delay in implementation which causes dislocation in the fishery planning machinery and impairs the efficiency of projects.

Integration of the fishery sector in the national development planning procedure is essential. The efficiency of the services responsible for promotion, coordination and follow-up of the development of this sector are often neglected because decision makers are unaware of the national importance of the fishery resources.

It is therefore recommended that national information and dissemination seminars be organized involving all levels of fisheries personnel, including the private sector. This will increase the awareness of the decision makers of the importance of the sector and make it possible to allocate a greater proportion of human and material resources.

Social, economic and biological data must be collected on a continuing basis as they are essential to planning. It is therefore recommended that governments should give full backing for the intensification of reliable fishery data collection.

3.2 Aquaculture Planning

It was noted that in many countries of the region aquaculture projects financed locally (or even externally) have run in to predictable failure due to lack of follow-up, thereby discouraging donors and other financing bodies from further funding. It was recommended that project monitoring should be carried out and should be prescribed in the schedule of work execution. Reports should be written as scheduled so that every step of development may be followed and where correction is needed action may be taken in time.

The problem of funding aquaculture projects was a common issue raised by most delegates with the main difficulty being the low priority given to aquaculture as compared to other food and cash-generating sectors. However, Lesotho was given as an example where through integrated systems (duck/pig-cum-fish culture) production had increased greatly even so as to compete with other sectors, thereby convincing the government financial authorities and creditors that this is a viable and profitable undertaking. If this approach is taken successfully in other countries, it was agreed that the problem could be minimized, if not solved.

In various cases, some of the externally funded projects have been terminated without achieving their goals - because not enough consideration was given during the planning stage to include all the necessary components for successful implementation. It was then recommended that the parties concerned should participate fully in the feasibility and planning procedures in order to be able to prepare workable schedules of implementation and have cost estimates based on reality.

It was learnt from Zambian delegates and comments from a few others, that national “pilot-scale centres” have shown some impact in aquaculture development in their countries. Through these centres fish seed and other services including extension have successfully been extended to rural fish farmers thus stimulating fish farming in those areas.

It was therefore suggested that other countries should lay down programmes to establish such national centres where and when deemed necessary.

The lack of manpower development and training highlighted by several delegates prompted the delegate from Kenya to point out the number of aquaculture training facilities available in various parts of the continent including FAO/UNDP-funded projects which offer on-the-job training. Delegates' attention was drawn particularly to the Regional Aquaculture Centre (ARAC) in Port Harcourt which offers comprehensive high-level training in aquaculture but unfortunately is not being patronized by all countries. It was suggested therefore that more use should be made of the existing training facilities at the national, sub-regional and regional levels. However, it was emphasized that aquaculture project planning should match with manpower development plans.

It was reported that in some cases national aquaculture development plans presented for external funding have failed to meet the preparation requirements of the donors due to uncommon format of presentation. This has been the case because of inadequate knowledge and experience among national aquaculture planners in preparing development plans and project write-ups. It was then suggested that acceptable formats by drafted by FAO specialists and be made available through FAO offices in the various countries. In addition, consultancies and national workshops should be conducted occasionally as is done in other section of fisheries to educate national personnel and help them in formulating viable aquaculture projects.

In a few countries of the region, aquaculture has reached a certain level of development whereas in others it is only at grassroot level or has not been taken up even though potential exists and necessity is felt. In the latter case it is even very difficult to come up with a viable aquaculture project and convince financers to allocate funds for it. Although this problem may not have a direct solution, especially during the initial stage, well-planned projects which include all details may convince good government planners. To be able to do this, it was suggested that time should be taken to study developments in other experienced countries before making plans and countries with experience were requested to make available such information as may be required.

For the purpose of sustained smooth running of aquaculture projects, it was advised that where there is multiple use of water resources, project planning should be done in collaboration with other users so that in future there may not be conflicts which could retard development of the projects.

In most African countries, aquaculture research is still in its infancy. Research oriented projects are essential. These should be planned and formulated in close association and coordination with the national institutes, particularly in countries which have qualified national personnel.

Even in the most advanced African fish culture countries the present and likely future contribution of aquaculture is small. Because of this, governments may be hesitant to risk scarce resources on the future promises of aquaculture and give priority instead to capture fisheries. The whole sector may thus be left behind. This underlines the need for a regional or sub-regional approach and for the establishment of regional research and training centres.

The Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service of FAO has underway an activity called “Environmental data analyses for aquaculture development and fisheries management” which could be a powerful tool for aquaculture planning. The activity aims at testing the feasibility of bringing together a broad variety of data - physical, chemical, ecological and socio-economic - to be computer-analysed, interfaced and compared with aquaculture development criteria. The computer could be used to draw up a map indicating fairly precisely where the optimum localities are for a specific kind of aquaculture development. It is hoped that the feasibility of this approach, both technical and economic, can be evaluated by the end of 1986.

3.3 Implementation of National Fishery Development Programmes

The discussion on this point made it clear that planning, monitoring and appraisal of fishery development projects were a government responsibility. It was agreed, however, that the successful implementation of programmes necessitated a number of pre-requisites often neglected.

The integration of the activities was considered essential. Mali included in its fishery development programmes education health and other social assistance measures in addition to training.

The participation of the fishermen themselves and their communities in the planning, monitoring, and follow-up was considered as an insurance against failures. Examples were quoted from Gambia, where the community provided the necessary guarantee required by lending institutions. The involvement of the community had the added effect of increasing the rate of loan recovery.

The availability of credit for the small-scale fishermen remains nevertheless a serious constraint in the implementation of fisheries development programmes. In many cases, inland fishermen are even worse off. Illiteracy, lack of banks in rural areas and lack of guarantees made conditions more difficult for the inland fishermen. More flexible credit systems aiming specifically at the fishermen are required.

Lack of training due to poor facilities and few trainers is considered a major impediment in the implementation of programmes.

Implementation of fisheries development plans based on the export of fisheries products is often hampered by the lack of planning quality control. It was emphasised that present development in international trade in fish and fisheries products put the accent on quality. Not complying with quality requirement will result in serious economic losses due to eventual deterioration or rejection and will jeopardise confidence in the products from the country.

The role of research in providing reliable data for the preparation of national fisheries development programmes is beyond question. Consequently in the development of programmes and in their implementation phase adequate provision should be made for research institutions to enable them to carry on their functions.

3.4 Fisheries management of large lakes and lagoons

From the discussion of the fisheries management of the eight African lakes it was realized that common problems are shared by all the eight lakes, for example: lack of proper management, lack of research funds and, above all, lack of coordinated activities. It was therefore pointed out that coordinated efforts are urgently needed.

The specific problems affecting fisheries management in Lake Tanganyika were reported including: a lack of reliable fishery statistics; fluctuations in fish catches; lack of fishing equipment; lack of coordination between the countries, and; a total absence of fishery research. Assistance was requested from FAO to alleviate these problems. The reactivation of the regional fishery project incorporating Zambia, Tanzania, Zaire and Burundi was considered essential.

In view of the present low catches from Lake Albert measures aimed at increasing production were suggested. They include fishery management practices and research to be undertaken jointly by Uganda and Zaire fishery personnel, the study of the limnology and biology of the commercially-important fish species and the need to find better techniques in artisanal fisheries. Collaboration between the two countries could be furthered if bilateral arrangements took place in matters of research and management. It was recommended that full advantage be taken of CIFA as the regional mechanism to promote effective collaboration.

The management problems facing Lake Kariba stem from the lack of coordinated research activities between Zimbabwe and Zambia. There is, however, a desire for harmonization of management activities for the lake. Consequently, the delegates from both countries jointly requested CIFA to provide the mechanism to assist in the management strategies and to coordinate the research activities. It was suggested that, in the cases where only two countries shared resources, bilateral agreements under the aegis of CIFA should suffice to promote good management of the resources.

Attention was drawn to the multispecies nature of the fish stocks in Lake Victoria and with it, the different gears used for their exploitation, as well as the drawbacks in the use of these gears. Against this background, the need for a compromise in the management policies of the parties exploiting the fish stocks in order to obtain optimum benefit was highlighted.

It was pointed out that the Lake Chad Fishery Commission, made up of representatives from Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria, is supported by the countries themselves. Research activities on this lake have been hampered by lack of funds and, from the Chad side, by the withdrawal, some five years ago, of OSTROM, the French fishery research institution, due to the civil strife in that country. The delegate from Chad, supported by the Nigerian delegation, requested CIFA to support work on this lake.

In Lake Nubia the sustainable yield has been estimated, although at present quantities far less than this yield are taken. According to the delegate from the Sudan, management measures, especially for Oreochromis niloticus were also being enforced, although they were not strictly adhered to and have thus resulted in the depletion of the stocks. It was suggested therefore that a population dynamics project for this lake be embarked upon with assistance from the FAO.

The fishery management problems facing the Sahel region as a result of drought were mentioned and donor agencies were called upon to assist in finding solutions to the problems. In this context it was recommended that the CIFA Sub-Committee for the Sahel be reactivated.

It was reported that in Ghana there is a lack of basic information on lagoons. Regulatory measures for the lagoons also do not exist except those measures instituted by the fishermen themselves. Other problems affecting the lagoons brought about by adverse environmental factors and pollution were also mentioned. A call was therefore made for a comprehensive study of closed as well as open lagoons in Ghana with special emphasis on the fishery, hydrology, chemistry and catch statistics. Proper regulatory measures were also called for to replace the present ad hoc ones.

3.5 Fisheries Management in Rivers and Small Water Bodies

The effects of the drought, the introduction of highly efficient gear, and water management measures resulted in increased fishing pressures diminishing fish stocks. Conflicts between fishermen were reported in many countries. In addition, the survival of many stocks of commercial species was seriously threatened, particularly in rivers and lagoons.

Management measures are urgently required to correct this situation and ensure preservation of the resources.

A number of remedial measures were recommended by the Committee. These include: the increase of applied fisheries research towards environments under stress with particular attention being given to socio-economic factors; the promotion of integrated fishery development and the creation of new employment opportunities in related sectors; the development of fishery management plans for specific water bodies. The latter would include effective regulations based on rational legislation and the active participation of fishermen in its implementation. The need to control the importation and use of prohibited fishing gear was also underlined and promotion of community particiption in the design and implementation of fishery management measures was considered essential. The assistance of FAO was requested to implement these measures at the country level.

The attention of the Committee was called to the unused fishery potential of small water bodies and reservoirs. The Committee asked that FAO continue the inventory of the inland waters of Africa with a view to develop their full potential.

3.6 Chairman's Final Comments

Reiterating the similarities of the problems of fishery management in Africa, the Chairman of the panel (V.O. Sague, Nigeria), in conclusion remarked that: (a) coordination in the management of large lakes especially those shared by a number of States is inevitable if any progress is to be made. (b) where the lake is shared by two States, a bilateral cooperation should be easy to forge and (c) African experts should be able to pool their expertise together and carry out the various research projects where expertise is available.

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