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Focus on... Fisheries in Africa

Fish are an important source of both nutrition and employment in Africa, but fisheries and fishing communities are often overlooked in development planning. Seldom noticed by outsiders and frequently not addressed by policymakers, the livelihoods of fishing communities continue to be dangerous, unhealthy and economically precarious. And yet fish are the most important source of animal protein in Africa, although perhaps not for much longer. Fish catches are in freefall decline and the sometimes desperate but often cynical attempts (by artisanal and industrial fishers respectively) to meet rising demand are driving down fish stocks to precarious levels.

If fisheries in Africa are to remain viable several issues must be addressed. This edition of New Agriculturist focuses on the management and governance changes necessary to better manage fisheries, on the development of aquaculture as an alternative source of fish, the need to develop processing to cut wastage, and on improved marketing. We also report the tragic link between fishing communities and HIV/AIDS, and the implications of climate change which further threatens the sustainability of fisheries.

Crisis, what crisis?

Crisis, what crisis?

Fish are an important source of both nutrition and employment in Africa, but fisheries and fishing communities are often overlooked in development planning. Seldom noticed by outsiders and frequently not addressed by policymakers, the livelihoods of fishing communities continue to be dangerous, unhealthy and economically precarious.

Date published: November 2005

Fisheries management - a new approach needed

Fisheries management - a new approach needed

The decline in Africa's fisheries can only be stopped and reversed through much improved management of this vital resource. Decentralised local management must be informed by scientific research and regulated through by-laws that allow for participatory management involving local communities.

Date published: November 2005

Fish farming in Africa: dead or alive?

Fish farming in Africa: dead or alive?

Aquaculture is considered by many to be the only significant way to meet the future nutritional needs of Africans, but scientists say industry expansion must be done carefully, addressing environmental issues and past reasons for failure.

Date published: November 2005

Like fish out of water: the impact of climate change on fisheries

Like fish out of water: the impact of climate change on fisheries

Scientists have discovered that rising temperatures in recent years have affected the vital mixing of Lake Tanganyika's nutrients, and believe this is causing its fish population to decline. Large freshwater fisheries are unlikely to be the only fisheries system that will be at risk from global warming and the potential impacts need to be taken account by policymakers and included in national action plans.

Date published: November 2005

Cutting waste by managing money

Cutting waste by managing money

Almost one-third of fish caught by Africa's artisanal fisherfolk is lost due to spoilage and pest attack. With many fisheries fished at their maximum productivity or beyond, and catches declining in marine and inland waters, such post-harvest wastage must be addressed as a high priority.

Date published: November 2005

Fish, lovely fish...who will buy?

Fish, lovely fish...who will buy?

Africa's fisheries may be in crisis, but they also face a future of great opportunities. But to meet demand from domestic markets or exports, there has to be a change from the hand-to-mouth approaches of the subsistence production and opportunistic sale practices of the past.

Date published: November 2005

Wasting away: tackling HIV/AIDS in fishing communities

Wasting away: tackling HIV/AIDS in fishing communities

In Africa, fishermen are among the most 'at risk' mobile occupational groups, with a higher level of HIV rates recorded than for truck drivers and miners. However, the vulnerability of fishing communities to HIV/AIDS has been widely overlooked in national and international fisheries policies, and in health guidelines.

Date published: November 2005

New opportunities? Aquaculture for developing urban markets

New opportunities? Aquaculture for developing urban markets

In urban and peri-urban centres in Africa, there is evidence of emerging aquaculture activity using a variety of systems and environments which have the potential to serve expanding markets.

Date published: November 2005

 

 

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