Coastal Fisheries Initiative

Legal capacity building workshop on fisheries held in Côte d’Ivoire

The FAO/GEF Coastal Fisheries Initiative and the EAF-Nansen Programme/Norad join hands to train technical personnel from the Ministry of Animal and Fisheries Resources


31 May, Rome/Grand-Bassam - A workshop on legal capacity building for the fisheries sector was held in the coastal town of Grand-Bassam in Côte d’Ivoire from 15-17 May.

The workshop aimed to strengthen the capacities of technical personnel from the Côte d’Ivoire Ministry of Animal and Fisheries Resources (MIRAH, in its French acronym) in this West African country, where many communities depend on small-scale fisheries for their food and livelihoods. 

Participants also included local authorities from the coastal city of Sassandra as well as representatives from academia, civil society cooperatives, scientific research institutes, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and other stakeholders.

Sustainable fisheries management ”a major necessity” says Minister  

The Côte d’Ivoire government reiterated ”its desire to promote the implementation of adequate mechanisms in order to reposition the sustainable management of fisheries squarely within the country’s political, economic and social development,” Sidi Tiémoko Toure, Minister of Animal and Fisheries Resources, told participants in a keynote speech read by a representative, MIRAH Technical Fisheries Advisor Kodjo Alain.

The Minister pointed out that, while fish is the main source of animal protein in Côte d’Ivoire with annual consumption of over 25 kilos per capita, national production is ”low”, at 100 000-120 000 tonnes of fish per year compared to demand. 

”This forces us to rely on massive imports, equal to 635 000 tonnes of fish in 2022,” the Minister pointed out.

At the same time, fish stocks are under pressure from overfishing, coastal development and pollution.

”Fisheries management has become a major necessity if we are to ensure the prosperity and continuity of our fisheries and to guarantee food security,” the Minister said.  

Experts from the FAO/GEF Coastal Fisheries Initiative, the FAO EAF-Nansen Programme and the FAO Development Law Service(LEGN) delivered training on the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF), the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines), and on food safety standards for fish products. 

Participants also revised five draft legal texts proposed by the Coastal Fisheries Initiative in West Africa (CFI-WA), which aim to reinforce the consistency of the legal framework in Côte d’Ivoire with the EAF, the SSF Guidelines, and food safety regulations. 

 The EAF embraces people and the environment at the same time

”The EAF is a holistic approach that puts people at the center,” explained Merete Tandstad, coordinator of the EAF-Nansen Programme. ”So we have the ecological aspects, the socio-economic outcomes, and also governance systems in place along with external drivers: how do we balance objectives to manage fisheries in Côte d’Ivoire? Do we have the tools to manage them, including laws and regulations?”  

The case of the beach-seine fisheries management plan, currently under implementation by the MIRAH and supported by the EAF-Nansen Programme, was presented as an example of how EAF processes were followed in planning and implementation.

FAO Legal Officer Kysseline Cherestal presented a Diagnostic Tool for implementing the EAF through policy and legal frameworks that was developed by FAO. 

“A recent assessment of the legal and policy framework in Côte d’Ivoire found a medium alignment with the EAF,” explained Ms Cherestal. Key proposals to address the gaps and implement the recommendations were presented and discussed.  

The SSF Guidelines and co-management for sustainability 

CFI-WA Coordinator Fatou Sock highlighted ”the principle of the participation of fishers and fish workers in fisheries management” as a key aspect of successful management of natural resources that is in line with the SSF Guidelines.  

“The SSF Guidelines are an international instrument on small-scale and artisanal fisheries governance. They promote the engagement of fishers and fish workers in decision-making, and recognize the need to consider livelihoods more broadly when designing and implementing measures for sustainable resource utilization,” explained Lena Westlund, FAO International Fisheries Analyst and CFI consultant. 

To this end, CFI-WA with the support of the MIRAH is implementing a sardinella fishery co-management arrangement at its pilot site in Sassandra, Ms Sock explained.

”The Minister has affirmed his intention of supporting the co-management process that is being implemented on an experimental basis in Sassandra,” she added. 

A total of 42 people (including 10 online participants) attended the workshop.