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W/Africa Fisheries Steering Committee meets in Banjul

Aug 5, 2016, 10:35 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The 6th Regional Steering Committee meeting of the West Africa Regional Fisheries Programme (WARFP) opened yesterday at the Paradise Suites Hotel.

The two-day convergence was organised within the framework of the WARFP and the Regional Coordination Unit (RCU), under the supervision of the permanent secretariat of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC).

The overall goal of WARFP is to substantially increase the wealth generated by the exploitation of targeted fish resources in the participating countries, and increase the share of this wealth to beneficiary countries.

The programme, financed by the World Bank, covers nine countries: Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Liberia. 

The meeting, according to the organisers, was held to discuss and validate the 2016 work plan and budget for regional activities that are implemented by the RCU, the status of project implementation at both national  and regional level, the constraints and lessons learnt, as well as to make recommendations with a view to fast-tracking project implementation.

Speaking at the forum, Asberr Natoumbi Mendy, National Resources Management Specialist at the World Bank, said the World Bank Mission is out to eradicate poverty and boost shared prosperity in a sustainable manner.

The Bank, through the West Africa Regional Fisheries Programme (WARFP) or PRAO in French, is supporting the governments of the member states of the sub-regional fisheries commission to put in place sustainable fisheries management systems that guarantee capture of greater proportion of the wealth generated from the exploitation of marine resources.

The West African region is one of the richest fishing zones in the world due to exceptional climatic and ecological conditions, representing a significant jurisdictional area and a source of opportunity.

Innovative fisheries management could deliver smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in the region, he continued.

According to Mr Mendy, fisheries have expanded over the past decades without proper governance or management.

The first phase of WARFP/PRAO focuses on building robust foundations of fisheries management and fight against IUU - Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated - fishing for rebuilding of fisheries resources.

As the West African fisheries continue to expand, policies are needed to guide the industry to prevent further resource degradation, rebuild overexploited stocks, and manage overall fishing effort levels.

The WARFP/PRAO has for the first time in a fisheries project, introduced an incentive-based transparency measures for sustainable management of fisheries with disbursement linked indicators, he further stated. 

The objective is to use DLIs to reduce the risk of rent seeking and to institute a culture of transparency, he added.

Mr Mendy indicated that fisheries have huge potential to contribute towards the eradication of extreme poverty and promotion of shared prosperity - the twin goals of the World Bank.  

He called upon member countries to collaborate and cooperate in the implementation of the project by sharing experience, information, success stories, issues/problems encountered and remedial actions applied.

Mendy urged the regional coordination unit and the project implementation units to take stock of what they have achieved or did not achieve, and strategise for successful implementation of the West Africa regional fisheries project.