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Africa’s small-scale fisheries critical to food security: Murdoch University

Africa’s small-scale fisheries are crucial for global food security and must be supported with greater research and investment, according to the international experts at Murdoch University’s second Blue Economy Symposium in Tunis

Industry, NGO, government and academic representatives attended the symposium as part of the Africa Blue Economy Forum (ABEF) 2019 and Murdoch University’s Third Commission, a research investigation focusing on issues of public concern to Africa.

Fish accounts for more than one-fifth of the protein intake of African south of the Sahara and provides a livelihood to millions of people.

Dr Jeremy Prince, an adjunct professor, Murdoch University, said, “The collective value of the small-scale fisheries of Africa was too big to ignore.”

“It is critical that we stabilise and rebuild these fisheries to ensure both food security and the future of the blue economy,” Dr Prince further added.

Discussions at the Tunis symposium provided insights and contributions to the fine-tuning of the focus and narrative of the blue economy chapter of the Third Commission’s report. A strong emphasis was placed on the need to highlight clear and innovative actions to effect the lasting transformation of the blue economy in Africa.

Participants in the symposium called on all nations and international institutions to recognise the value and economic impact of small-scale fisheries in Africa.

Highlighting many issues such as increasing investment to allow fishing communities to be more involved in the co-management of fisheries and directly engaging with fishing communities to collect and share relevant data regarding the state and economic value of small-scale coastal fisheries.

Boosting African blue economy

Murdoch’s Third Commission commenced stressed the need of more significant research attention, bolder policy innovation, faster implementation on the ground, enhanced political leadership and the conceptualisation and roll out of innovative research solutions:

· Promoting equity in the extractive industries

· Better Monitoring, governing and harnessing of the blue economy

· Promoting sustainable agriculture and food production

· Creating greater and more innovative access to modern energy (electricity and light) fast

· Cross-cutting themes of women and Youth and climate change