The EU, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have signed a €40 million, five-year programme (FISH4ACP) to boost the development of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
FISH4ACP is an innovative EU-funded programme, devised with ACP and to be implemented by FAO. It will invest in value chains to stimulate inclusive growth, bolster food security and minimise impacts on the marine environment.
The signing took place in Oslo, at the Our Ocean 2019 conference. Representatives from governments, business, civil society and research institutions attended this global event to promote action for a clean, healthy and productive ocean.
‘The focus on all three aspects of sustainability – the economic, the environmental and the social – sets this programme apart. It will enable us to strike a balance between production and protection, to contribute towards fair income distribution; to promote decent working conditions, sound fisheries management and social inclusiveness; and to champion sustainable aquaculture practices,’ said European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella.
FISH4ACP will work with ten value chains in ten different ACP countries, aiming to maximise their economic returns and social benefits, while minimising the detrimental effects on natural habitats and marine wildlife. It will pay special attention to small-scale fisheries because of their potential to deliver economic and social benefits, particularly for women.
In Africa, the programme will support both aquaculture and fisheries value chains. They include inland and marine fisheries, involving catfish, small pelagics, oyster, shrimp and tilapia value chains from Nigeria to Zimbabwe, and from Lake Tanganyika to São Tomé and Príncipe and the continent’s Atlantic shores.
In the Caribbean, FISH4ACP will concentrate on stocks of mahi-mahi and seabob shrimp in the Dominican Republic and Guyana respectively; in the Pacific, it will focus on tuna fisheries around the Marshall Islands, a sector with high potential on both European and American markets.
‘We welcome this new, comprehensive value chain approach to the development of fisheries and aquaculture that takes into account all players, at all stages – from net to plate. This is an innovative approach that will boost economic returns and social equity, and reduce negative impacts on the marine environment,’ said FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu.
‘Within the ACP countries, there is a sense of urgency to boost our fisheries and aquaculture sectors because they greatly contribute to economic growth, decent jobs and food and nutrition security. We are happy to have our partners on board and launch this much-needed initiative, which will unlock the potential of fisheries and aquaculture in ACP regions,’ commented ACP Secretary General Dr Patrick Gomes.