Press release by WorldFish.

Key regional players have joined with WorldFish and the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems (FISH) to endorse a vision for inclusive and sustainable aquaculture to underpin the overarching aims of human development, food and nutrition security on the African continent.

In line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the Cape Town Call to Action acknowledges development initiatives and progress so far while proposing concrete actions to engender greater collaboration and evidence-based guidance that takes into account recent innovations that will shape aquaculture development with proven pro-poor benefits, especially in terms of nutrition, employment and income generation.

The document is a result of deliberations that took place at the African Aquaculture Policy day held during the World Aquaculture conference, 26–30 June 2017.

The three page Call to Action includes proposals for regional collaboration on research and development with the establishment of centers of excellence, investments in capacity building and the dissemination of best management practices for profitable, productive, environmentally-sustainable and nutrition sensitive aquaculture.

Michael Phillips, Director of Science and Aquaculture, WorldFish and Program Director FISH: “Recent years have seen increased growth in aquaculture but the full potential is yet to be realized. A continent wide agreement on ways forward will help to consolidate resources, share lessons learned and allow all nations to create the incentives and infrastructure that investors need to meet growing need and demand for fish.”

Policy guidance is a key theme with evidence-based research expected to support policy-makers to effectively undertake policy and governance reforms. The vision notes a need to make policies understandable and accessible to those farming communities to which they will apply and to take into the conservation of aquatic biodiversity.

Improvements in farmer access to quality fish seed, better fish feeds and a regional animal health strategy to coordinate disease response and measures are seen as important elements for sustainable aquaculture.

This new continent-wide vision is timely for the newly launched CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems (FISH), opening new opportunities for the program to align with partners to deliver quality science to underpin the sustainable growth of aquaculture in the region.

Organizations named as supporting the Call to Action are: The African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), the East African Community Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (EAC-LVFO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the World Aquaculture Society and WorldFish.

Photo: WorldFish  (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)