May 14, 2008, 6:53 AM
The first conference of African Ministers of Fisheries is expected to open today at the Sheraton Hotel in Brufut on the theme "African Fisheries and Aquaculture: Contributing towards Agricultural Development and Economic Growth."
Organised by the Department of the Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), and hosted by the Government of the
The conference comes in the wake of tremendous progress registered by the continent since 2005 in restoring fisheries and aquaculture on the priority list of national and regional development. To this end, in order to strengthen
The conference aims to facilitate information sharing in selected technical areas and engage at political level to ensure dialogue and a concerted voice on critical development issues in the sector.
Among others, the conference is expected to come up with clear, evidence-based decisions on priority actions to scale up best practices in fisheries and aquaculture development in
It is also expected that the outcomes will clearly be linked to and build on agriculture and rural development decisions and declarations made in the 13th July Session of the AU Assembly and HSG Summit, held in Sirte, Libya, from 1st to 3rd July, 2009, and enable fisheries management arrangements that are based on rational economic principles to be validated and established.
During the February 2004 Sirte Summit of African heads of state and government, the Sirte Declaration mandated the AU Commission to promote the development of fisheries resources, improve facilities to promote post-harvest management, including fisheries management in the exclusive economic zones and regional cooperation in fisheries management. In 2005 African ministers responsible for fisheries recommended the preparation of the Companion Document (fisheries) to the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). This was followed by the African heads of state and government’s strong commitment towards the development of the fisheries sector by endorsing the NEPAD Action Plan for the Development of African Fisheries Aquaculture during the Abuja NEPAD Fish For All Summit in August 2005. Further to this, during the Abuja Food Security Summit in December 2006, the heads of state and government endeavoured to protect fish as one of the strategic commodities, and affirmed their commitment to attain self-sufficiency in fish by 2015.