Civil Society Organisations have tasked proponents of Blue economy to integrate small scale fisheries into the blue growth strategy. The CSOs made the plea at a partners workshop hosted by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) in Stockholm, Sweden between 18 and 20 May 2017.
Gaoussou Gueye, President of the African Confederation of Artisanal Fisheries Professional Organisations (CAOPA) emphasised that proponents of blue growth initiative should take into cognisance the sustainability of artisanal fishing communities in Africa. “Small scale fishery is very important and there is need to integrate the importance of small scale fisheries in the blue economy,” said Gueye.
“We need to showcase the importance of small scale fisheries. We need to show them exactly what small scale fisheries do for food security and job provision within Africa’s artisanal fishing communities in Africa.”
Furthermore, he added that proponents of blue growth initiative are likely to show bias towards industrial fisheries. “When the proponents of blue growth strategy talk about fisheries they do not mean small scale fisheries but industrial fisheries. If we do not advocate for small scale fisheries it would disappear and this would pose crisis to food security in Africa.”
In the same vein, Inoussa Maiga, President of the West African Network of Journalists for Responsible Fishing (REJOPRAO) noted that small scale fishery is essential to the survival of the artisanal fishing communities in Africa. “We need to change the perception of small scale fisheries and the way we understand it. We need to show that we are more than figures and that we contribute to the economic development and food security. It is until we do so that proponents of Blue growth will stop perceiving small scale fisheries as insignificant,” said Maiga.
For her part, Sara Frocklin, Policy Officer for Tropical Marine and Ecosystem at SSNC emphasised that small scale fisheries is not perceived as growth sector by proponents of blue growth. She, however, made a case for the integration of small scale fisheries into blue growth strategies especially as components of fisheries agreements in Africa. Beatrice Gorez, Coordinator of Brussel-based Coalition for Fair Fisheries Agreement (CFFA) concurred that proponents of blue growth initiative should give more spaces to small scale fisheries development. Furthermore, Andre Standing of CFFA added that the value of Blue growth is incomplete without accounting for food security and small scale fisheries with regard to artisanal fishing communities in Africa.
By Emeka Umejei