FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

Inception day for the FAO-GEF International Waters Project

Promoting sustainable fisheries management in the Red Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (RedSeaFish Project)

Virtual Event, 21/11/2023

The Red Sea is a unique water basin that supports one of the highest levels of endemism of marine biodiversity in the world, with an estimated 14.7 percent of its fish species endemic.

While fisheries contribution to national GDP is usually not large amongst the Red Sea countries, fisheries are a particularly important source of livelihoods, food security and nutrition (especially for protein) for many Red Sea coastal communities. An estimated 85 000 people are directly engaged in fishing on the Red Sea and many more men and women are employed in support roles supplying the fishing sector, or in the post-harvest sector. Assessments of stocks at the regional level are missing and vary at national levels; this is an important gap, as, it is impossible for governments and stakeholders to plan well when they do not know the extent of resources available for fishing and other activities.

In light of this, FAO and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) have joined forces to develop the RedSeaFish project, to promote sustainable fisheries management in the Red Sea Large Marine Ecosystem. This project, with its elements of regional collaboration at its core, comes at a time when regional collaboration on fisheries management is needed now more than ever.

The regional RedSeaFish project provides a collaborative framework to preserve and protect whole ecosystems efficiently while also providing opportunities for coastal Arab and African Red Sea countries to benefit sustainably from the services they render. This project, while regional in nature, will benefit the Red Sea coastal countries at the national level as well. It aims to improve data collection, assessment of stocks, regional cooperation and national frameworks for fisheries management.

FAO and GEF are holding a virtual inception meeting on 21 November to begin development of the RedSeaFish project.