Motseki Hlatshwayo, the senior technical adviser for fisheries and aquaculture at the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) says the African Union’s Fish Governance II project will help African countries, regional economic communities and regional fisheries bodies to provide consistent responses to the challenges facing the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

He said this at a media training workshop on fisheries management and aquaculture development in Africa on Zanzibar’s Indian Island recently.

The workshop was part of the AUs Fish Governance II project funded by the European Union (EU).

Hlatshwayo said the sector has been impacted by a health crisis, and although it is on the road to recovery, there is much to be done to build resilience and enable actors in the fish value chain to ensure better adaptation.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard.

“This has given rise to concerns . . . such as the supply of fish as priority health-related interventions to avoid malnutrition and gender inequalities, investment opportunities, and governance mechanisms to effectively combat the pandemic,” Hlatswayo said.

He said SADC reaffirms its commitment to meeting challenges, and the 20-year commemoration of the SADC Fisheries Protocol under the theme ‘Protecting our Fisheries, Working for a Common Future’ reflects this.

Senior livestock manager for the East African Community David Balikowa said the training workshop would help African journalists to be aware of the importance of fisheries and aquaculture in developing economies.

He said the media is a critical partner in the development and sustainability of the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

Islam Seif, the principal secretary in the Tanzanian Ministry of trade and industrial development, said fishing communities face challenges such as poor fishing infrastructure, a lack of storage facilities, a lack of modern fishing gear and equipment, and a lack of guarantees to access loans.

Nelly Isyagi, a consultant, spoke on the importance of managing aquaculture systems and aquatic production systems.

Isyagi said productivity depends on the status of aquatic resources, and aquatic ecosystems are the ultimate recipients of pollution through human activity.

“Although aquatic resources are generally considered renewable, they are not infinite. Therefore, environmental management in aquaculture needs to be recognised in the policy.

“They need to be managed appropriately if their contribution to the nutritional, economic and social well-being of the growing population is to be sustained,” Isyagi said.

Andrew Saukani, a fisheries extension officer from Malawi, said the training enlightened him on the AU’s Agenda 2063, which is similar to Malawi’s Vision 2063.

Byron Mutengwere, a journalist from Zimbabwe, said when raising awareness about the importance of fisheries and aquaculture, all stakeholders, including the media, agricultural extension officers, regional economic communities, and governments should be on board.

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