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4. CIFA/85/Symp.1


The Fishery Policy and Planning Division
Fisheries Department, FAO

This paper summarizes the findings of three FAO consultants (nationals of Ghana, Senegal and Uganda) who visited a wide selection of countries in Western, Eastern, Central and Southern Africa to establish the current status of fisheries planning. In this summary of their reports the situation is selected countries in Francophone West Africa, and on a regional basis elsewhere, is reviewed, and problems and constraints affecting fisheries development are highlighted. The consultants found that shortages of finance, especially of foreign exchange, insufficient resources for training and the low status of the fisheries sector are continuing problems. Attention is also drawn to a lack of statistical data, inadequate research and, in some countries, insufficient attention to inland fisheries and aquaculture. Some development plans were also considered to be unsoundly based.


In late 1983 a set of consultancies were undertaken to, among other things, review the status of fisheries planning in Africa. Reports were produced by Mr W. Odoi-Akersie (Ghana) concerning the English speaking countries of West Africa and by Mr M. Kebe (Senegal) for the French speaking countries of West Africa. Planning in East and Central Africa and in SADCC countries was covered by J. Semakula (Uganda). Some of the major findings and conclusions of these studies have been summarized here by region, and in the case of French West Africa, by country.

With respect to fisheries development certain similar general problems are reported by these authors, including absence of reliable data and statistics, poorly designed or irrelevant research programmes, lack of gear and equipment, overfishing, lack of trained staff, lack of coordination and consultation between different sectors with respect to competing water uses, and lack of financing. More training, more and better extension services and more financing is recommended. As well, concentration on domestic consumption rather than export markets, on small-scale operations, and on limiting entry to some fisheries is advocated. Although historically the marine sector has been emphasized, there is observed to be a trend toward intensification of aquaculture and inland fisheries.

Most countries have some form of fisheries policy and objectives. The degree of planning which proceeded these policies, whether long-term plans have been formulated, and whether monitoring, evaluation and revision is being carried out is not mentioned. No mention is made that management and development strategies are not suceeding, or should be revised.


This discussion on planning in French West Africa is based on work of M. Kebe. A brief discussion is presented on the situation in each country in turn, and then some observations are provided, followed by recommendations.


Fisheries is the responsibility of the Forestry Service. Considerable potential for increased production exists. However, there appears to be an absence of sound, long-term planning and data and statistics on which to base it. It is proposed to undertake stock assessment and population dynamics on selected waters. On the basis of this work an appropriate management plan will be formulated.

Constraints to present and future plans are: environmental factors (periodic drought), lack of financing, unrestricted fishing effort, and lack of training.

Upper Volta

Fisheries is the responsibility of the National Fisheries and Fish Culture Department. There is no detailed fisheries plan. Since the communities are made up, essentially, of farmers, the task of the Department has been to promote fisheries as a source of increased food production and improved livelihood. Thirty Fisheries Centres have been established with a view to developing a community approach among the fishermen. It is intended to create fishermen cooperative societies at these centres which will be given loans for purchase of equipment. These loans are repayable over two years, after which the cooperatives will become autonomous and responsible for controlling both production and marketing. A major constraint appears to be that the waters are heavily overfished, and catch rates are so low that fishermen cannot earn enough to repay the loans. Production is also being diverted to Niger where it commands higher prices.

During 1984–85 it is planned to conduct a study, financed by EDF to determine fish culture potentials.


The “Interim Consolidation Plan” formulated in 1983 includes:

Constraints to the implementation of the development plan include a lack of adequate finance, a lack of trained staff, a lack of response from the fishermen to development measures.

Preliminary indications are that the development plan, summarized above, is not soundly based particularly in overestimating the potential for aquaculture. Revisions are necessary to provide more reliable data concerning the various water areas and their production potentials. The production potentials should be reassessed in consultation with other sectors concerned with water usage and include socio-economic studies.


Fisheries are the responsibility of the Fisheries Department within the Ministry of State Farms, Animal Production and Fisheries.

The country has significant inland fish production potential estimated at around 34 000 t. However such factors as overfishing, pollution, diversion of catches to more lucrative outside markets, and urban drift have led to falls in supplies. In recent years there has also been a policy of developing the marine fisheries (now, possibly overcapitalized) and a corresponding neglect of the inland sector. Recognizing the need to sector the levels of inland fish production, reduce imports of fish and establish self sufficiency, a revised fisheries policy now aims at intensifying fish culture at the rural level and re-introducing traditional “intensification” methods such as “Acadja” which will make minimum demands on capital and outside expertise. It is also hoped to integrate fish culture operations with vegetable/rice growing and irrigation and increase incomes within the local communities.

The above plan will require sound planning involving close collaboration with such sectors as forestry, agriculture, irrigation, etc.


Lagoon fisheries are the responsibility of the Animal Production Department in the Ministry of Rural Development. The Fisheries Management and Production Department in the Ministry of Rural Management is responsible for inland fisheries.

As in Benin previous high levels of production from the inland and lagoon fisheries provided mainly through small-scale, traditional methods, has declined; this has been attributed to neglect of these fisheries in favour of marine fisheries development.

It is planned to rectify this through concentrating on the development of river fisheries, the reactivation of fish culture at village level, lagoon aquaculture and dam fisheries. This programme also provides for the establishment of fish hatcheries and a fish culture research station. Emphasis will be given to village level culture operations integrated with livestock and rice production. A likely constraint to the implementation of the above programme is the lack of reliable data on which to plan, and the lack of adequate finance.

Ivory Coast

Fisheries are the responsibility of the Department of fisheries and Fish Culture in the Ministry of Forestry. Although marine fishery resources are limited, inland waters which could be brought into production total 400 000 ha. With this in view the Department of Fisheries has, since the mid-1970's, planned and implemented an intensive programme of freshwater fish culture, lagoon aquaculture and lagoon fisheries development.

The objectives of the programme were to establish self-sufficiency in aquatic products, create employment and improve incomes amongst fishermen and farmers.

Through phased development the programme provided for the conduct of the necessary basic studies and investigations, the formulation of related management measures, and the establishment of production units and technical support services. Objectives were very specific in terms of numbers of ponds and hatcheries to be constructed, numbers of staff and fishermen to be trained, etc. The phased development also planned for village scale and larger scale operations, as necessary, integrated with agriculture, forestry, etc.

Considerable progress has been made in the implementation of the development plan and the attainment of the objectives. This has been attributed to the detailed forward planning which was undertaken and which included integration with other sectors of the economy.


Inland Fisheries are the responsibility of the Inland Fisheries and Fish Culture Division of the Forestry Department.

Senegal also seems to display a recent history of neglect of inland fisheries development in favour of marine fisheries development; this together with prolonged drought situations and the exodus of inland fishermen to the marine sector or to agriculture has in some cases reduced inland fishing operations to subsistence levels.

The Sixth Economic and Social Development Plan (1981–85) gave emphasis to reactivating the inland fisheries through intensive development of aquaculture, and consideration of the administrative structures through the creation of the Inland Fisheries and Fish Culture Division referred to earlier. Related activities included establishing a national unit for the coordination and conduct of statistical collection programmes, establishment of a fish culture centre, establishment of a training centre, provision of equipment and health care for fishing communities, etc.

Most of the above plans have not been implemented through lack of financing. The exception has been the establishment of the fish culture centre in the Senegal River Valley.

Developments having a bearing on fisheries management and development programmes are two agricultural projects near the Senegal River and a futher two agricultural projects in association with the Diama Dam and the Manantali Dam. Unless appropriate steps are taken the two latter development projects could lead to fish production losses of up to 9 000 t.

One compensating development has been the construction of immense “fish basins” in areas originally set aside for rice growing. These “fish basins”, the construction of which was undertaken by villagers, indicate a possibility for similar low cost aquaculture development.

2.1 Observations

  1. In French speaking Africa, fisheries is often the “poor relation” of the Forestry Service and officers assigned to fisheries work rarely receive specialized training.

  2. There is a general absence of qualitative and quantitative data on which to base fisheries planning.

  3. Inland fisheries development has been somewhat neglected in favour of marine fisheries development, sometimes accompanied by overcapitalization of the lakes.

  4. A drop in fish production from inland waters in a number of countries has resulted from a combination of continuous drought, the low or hitherto productive waters and overfishing of the waters which remain, with insufficient efforts to restrict this.

  5. Although efforts are now being made to intensify aquaculture it is often (with some notable exceptions) regarded as a subsistence activity connected with irrigation. Insufficient effort has been made to integrate aquaculture with agriculture and forest development.

  6. There is a general lack of financing. General recourse is to external financing and the resulting projects may not meet real economic and social needs.

  7. Fisheries research activities are minimal; research programmes are poorly designed and not directed at the problems to which the planners need answers. Research also suffers from lack of finance and lack of experience amongst research workers.

  8. Extension services are normally lacking and where they exist they have generally failed to achieve results.

2.2 Recommendations

  1. It is necessary to obtain more reliable data and statistics on which to base fisheries planning, the formulation of policy and objectives and appropriate strategies.

  2. Planning must be long term and must include all those involved with water usage, e.g., agriculture, forestry, hydro-electric energy, irrigation, drainage, industrial and domestic use, etc.

  3. Aquaculture development should be concentrated on small-scale operations and efforts should be made to accelerate the transfer of technology within the region.

  4. There is a general need for more training and support services.

A further observation which might be made is an apparent, encouraging trend towards inland fisheries development and aquaculture. This may be due to the limitations of the marine resources in certain cases or to the difficulties of obtaining substantial external aid or capital which marine fisheries development has often required in the past. In any event large-scale external aid may be equally difficult to obtain for inland fisheries development as evident by several of the inland fisheries projects mentioned, e.g., in Senegal, which are in obeyance through lack of funding. Thus an emphasis on small-scale fisheries and aquaculture development and traditional methods, e.g., the “Acadja” in Benin is suggested.


3.1 General

The following discussion is based on the study undertaken in late 1983 by W. Odoi-Akersie, which covered Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia.

Arising out of the study, the total freshwater production in the seven countries visited was estimated at 277 000 tons, representing about 32 percent of total landings. it was further estimated that total freshwater production could be doubled.

Policy objectives, common to all countries studied, were:

Major problems, common to many countries to one degree or another, included:

3.2 Observations


4.1 General

The following comments are based on the study undertaken in late 1983 by J. Semakula. The study covered Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.

Common objectives identified were:

Major problems and constraints, common to many countries, were:

4.2 Recommendations (by Semakula)

4.3 The consultant's report cites the benefits obtained through well-planned fisheries development programmes involving re-stocking on Lakes Kariba in Zambia/Zimbabwe, Lake Naivasha in Kenya, and Lake Wamala in Uganda.

Mention is also made of production increases in Lake Turkana in Kenya through the resettlement of Luo fishermen from Lake Victoria and further re-stocking measures planned for that lake.

The report also describes a “small projects programme” in Botswana, which has assisted fisheries development at the village level where evaluation criteria include the effect on rural incomes, the development of local entrepreneurial skills and community development.

The report provides a historical record of the development of fisheries in Lake Victoria and suggests further management and development measures which should now be considered.

4.4 Observations

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