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Volume 17 Number 1 - Sunday, 14 December 2008
9-11 DECEMBER 2008
The 15th session of the Committee for Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture of Africa (CIFAA) of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) took place from 9-11 December 2008, in Lusaka, Zambia. Issues on the CIFAA agenda included: amendment of rules of procedure; follow-up actions of the 14th session of the CIFAA; CIFAA terms of reference; the proposed abolition of the CIFAA Sub-Committee for Lake Tanganyika; the Special Programme for Aquaculture Development in Africa (SPADA); an inland fisheries development strategy for Africa; securing regional supply in aquatic products: prospects from the FAO post-harvest loss assessment case studies; and strengthening CIFAA within the framework of regional cooperation initiatives. A seminar on information tools in inland fisheries and aquaculture was also held, and participants made a field visit to an aquaculture farm.

The session brought together 41 participants representing: 14 member States; two States with observer status; the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO); the Southern African Development Community; the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD); the WorldFish Center; the Sustainable Aquaculture Research Networks in Sub-Saharan Africa (SARNISSA), and Swedmar.

The CIFAA’s work resulted in a number of outcomes, including: an amendment to the rules of procedure; the postponement of the abolition of the CIFAA Sub-Committee for Lake Tanganyika; the endorsement of the SPADA; the creation of an Ad Hoc Working Group (AHWG) to develop an inland fisheries development strategy for Africa; and revised terms of reference of the CIFAA. Delegates also adopted the report of the meeting, which contains the summary of the plenary discussions and the seminar.


THE FAO’s COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES: The Committee on Fisheries (COFI) is a subsidiary body of the FAO Council, established by the FAO conference at its 13th session in 1965. COFI constitutes the only global intergovernmental forum where major international fisheries and aquaculture issues are examined and recommendations addressed to governments, regional fishery bodies (RFB), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), fishworkers, FAO and the international community. COFI has also been used as a negotiation forum for global agreements and non-binding instruments. The two main functions of COFI are to implement and review the programmes of work of FAO in the field of fisheries and aquaculture, and to conduct periodic general reviews of fishery and aquaculture problems of an international character with a view to concerted action by nations, FAO, intergovernmental bodies and civil society. The Committee also reviews specific matters relating to fisheries and aquaculture referred to it by the FAO Council or Director-General, or placed on its agenda at the request of members, or the UN General Assembly.

COFI/AQ: The COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture (COFI/AQ) provides a forum for consultation and discussion on aquaculture and advises COFI on technical and policy matters relating to aquaculture and on the work of FAO on aquaculture. In particular the Sub-Committee’s role includes:

  • identifying and discussing major issues and trends in global aquaculture development;
  • determining issues and trends of international importance requiring action to increase the sustainable contribution of aquaculture to food security, economic development and poverty alleviation;
  • recommending international action to address aquaculture development needs; and
  • addressing specific matters relating to aquaculture referred to it by its members, the COFI or the FAO Director-General.

At its fourth session, held in Puerto Varas, Chile, from 6-10 October 2008, the COFI/AQ identified challenges and emerging issues such as: the enhancement of governance, especially through self-governance by farmers’ organizations; the need for guidelines, standards, manuals and better management practices; the need for a regional approach to disease outbreaks; environmental issues with regard to seed, feed, discharge, and environmental impact assessment (EIA); use of chemicals and food safety of aquaculture products; integration of aquaculture into water resource management and agricultural sector management plans, and interaction between aquaculture and fisheries; capacity building on farms and empowering small farmers to become more competitive and meet trade requirements; publicity on achievements and positive developments of aquaculture; offshore aquaculture as a promising option but still requiring efforts in developing technology and regulatory framework; and climate change and possible mitigation strategies.

RFBs: Within the FAO framework, 10 RFBs have been established under Article VI of the FAO Constitution and have advisory functions in support of sustainable fisheries development and management.

CIFAA: The Committee for Inland Fisheries of Africa (CIFA) is a RFB and was established by the FAO Council in 1971 under Article VI-2 of the FAO Constitution, with the objective of promoting the development of inland fisheries and aquaculture in Africa. At its 14th session held in Accra, Ghana, in November 2006, the CIFA changed its name to explicitly include aquaculture, and became the CIFAA.

The Governing Body of CIFAA is the Committee, which holds its sessions at intervals of two years. Decisions of the Committee are taken by a majority of votes cast, unless otherwise decided. The terms of reference of the Committee include to:

  • promote, coordinate and assist national and regional fishery and limnological surveys and programmes of research and development leading to the rational utilization of inland fishery resources;
  • assist member governments in establishing the scientific basis for regulatory and other measures for the conservation and improvement of inland fishery resources, to formulate such measures through subsidiary bodies as required, and to make appropriate recommendations for the adoption and implementation of these measures;
  • promote and coordinate efforts on a national and regional basis to prevent damage to the aquatic environment, including the prevention and control of water pollution;
  • assist in the development of fish culture and stock improvement, including the control of fish diseases and the importation of exotic species;
  • promote and assist in the utilization of the most effective fishing craft, gear and techniques;
  • promote and assist activities concerned with the processing, preservation and marketing of fish and fish products;
  • encourage education and training through the establishment or improvement of national and regional institutions, and by the promotion and the organization of symposia, seminars, study tours and training centers;
  • assist in the collection, interchange, dissemination and analysis of statistical, biological and environmental data and other inland fishery information; and
  • assist member governments in formulating national and regional programmes to be implemented through sources of international aid.

Membership is open to all African member nations and associate members of the FAO selected by the Director General on the basis of their active interest in inland fishery development in Africa and of their potential contribution to the effective discharge of the CIFAA’s functions.


Africa’s fisheries and aquaculture sectors make vital contributions to food security for 200 million Africans and provide income for over 10 million engaged in fish production, processing and trade. Fish has become a leading export commodity for Africa, with an annual export value of US$ 2.7 billion. According to the FAO, Africa produces 7.31 million tons of fish each year, of which, 4.81 million tons are from marine fisheries, and 2.5 million tons from inland fisheries.

AU/NEPAD COMPREHENSIVE AFRICA AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME: The African Union (AU)/NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) was officially adopted at the AU Summit in Maputo, Mozambique, in 2003. CAADP is a common framework, reflected in a set of key principles and targets that have been defined and established in order to: guide country strategies and investment programmes; allow regional peer learning and review; and facilitate greater alignment and harmonization of development efforts. CAADP has been designed to promote investment in four key areas that can make a difference to Africa’s food and agriculture situation. It calls for priority investment in: land and water management; rural infrastructure and trade-related capacities for improved market access; food supply and hunger reduction; and agricultural research and technology dissemination. The CAADP and the AU Sirte Declaration on Agriculture and Water of 2004 serve as the overarching framework for accelerating long term agricultural development and growth among African countries.

The Maputo Summit also requested the development of CAADP II, a companion document that covers livestock, fisheries and forestry. The fisheries component focuses priority investments in the following areas: fisheries policy and institutional frameworks; fishery equipment and infrastructure improvements; and development of a vibrant commercial aquaculture.

NEPAD-FISH FOR ALL SUMMIT: This Summit was held from 22–25 August 2005, in Abuja, Nigeria, in order to draw global attention to the vital role of fisheries and aquaculture in meeting Africa’s development goals. The Heads of State Summit (25 August) endorsed common African objectives for the future of fisheries and aquaculture in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, as outlined in the Abuja Declaration on Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa. The Summit agreed to a shared understanding among key stakeholders from public, private and civil society sectors, of: the current status and likely future trends of African fisheries and aquaculture; priorities for investment in the future development of fisheries and aquaculture in Africa within the context of the NEPAD programme; and future directions for research and capacity building in support of these investment priorities.

Abuja Declaration: In the Declaration, Heads of State and Government agree to:

  • support regional cooperation in fisheries and aquaculture through NEPAD, Regional Economic Bodies and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations, including in the management of transboundary and shared aquatic resources and ecosystems;
  • support national actions to accede to, ratify, and implement international conventions for the sustainable use and protection of the living aquatic resources and the aquatic environment of the region;
  • implement the provisions of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, in particular through: improving governance of fisheries; ensuring the environmental sustainability of fisheries; examining means to progressively replace “open access” to fisheries resources with “limited access regimes” and introducing rights-based fisheries;
  • taking steps to control fleet and fishing capacity; and ensuring an equitable balance of resource allocation between small-scale and industrial fishers;
  • empower fishing and fish farming communities, civil society and stakeholder organizations to effectively participate in policy making, planning and implementation processes, with particular reference to the equitable allocation of resources, and the rights of the poor and disadvantaged;
  • ensure that fisheries and aquaculture is adequately reflected in the national and regional economic policies, strategies, plans and investment portfolios, including poverty reduction and food security strategies;
  • foster the development of an appropriate investment climate for fisheries and aquaculture, including legal and institutional reform and enforcement where required, improved incentives and access to capital for private investors, and strategic public sector investments;
  • direct attention to harnessing the potential and entrepreneurship of small-scale fishers, fish farmers, fish traders and service providers and their associations, including women entrepreneurs who have been leading the development of fish processing and trade in much of the continent;
  • foster small, medium and large-scale aquaculture production in a sustainable and environment-friendly manner compatible with the rational use of land and water resources, and evolving market opportunities;
  • build human and institutional capacity at national and regional levels with particular emphasis on training institutions, transferring appropriate technologies and knowledge to small producers and ensuring a rational and scientific basis for management decisions and design of programmes;
  • conserve and rehabilitate aquatic environments and habitats essential to aquatic biodiversity; and take measures to prevent or mitigate adverse impacts of aquaculture on the aquatic and coastal environment and communities; and
  • promote trade in artisanal and industrial fish products to respond to regional and global market opportunities for African fish products, including by: removing intra-regional trade barriers; developing common approaches and positions on international trade in fish and fishery products; and on harmonizing standards on products traded in the region.

NEPAD Action Plan for the Development of African Fisheries and Aquaculture: The NEPAD Action Plan for the Development of African Fisheries and Aquaculture adopted at the Summit describes investment areas for inland fisheries, coastal and marine fisheries, and aquaculture. The Action Plan serves as an Africa-wide framework for developing specific interventions by stakeholders at Regional Economic Community and national levels, taking into account their ongoing initiatives and development priorities. The Action Plan emphasizes the contributions by the fisheries sector to NEPAD’s development objectives and seeks to strengthen the linkages between fisheries and other economic sectors in order to increase development benefits and improve sustainability. The Action Plan identifies three overarching priority areas where further investment can help to increase the development value of the fisheries sector, namely, for inland fisheries, coastal and marine fisheries, and aquaculture.

Regarding inland fisheries, the Action Plan focuses on: improving fisheries governance and defining resource access, particularly for the poor; enhancing productivity through post-harvest management; sustaining production through integrated water resource management; supporting transboundary management; improving market access, particularly for small-scale producers, processors and traders; promoting enterprise development through enabling institutions and policy frameworks; and strengthening consideration of inland fisheries in national and regional policies, and actions on food security.

On aquaculture, the Action Plan focuses on: developing sector-wide strategies at national level for expansion and intensification of aquaculture; supporting priority aquaculture zones; encouraging private sector investment across the sector; applying proven technologies to increase production; maintaining the competitive advantage that Africa’s environment provides for aquaculture production; harnessing the opportunities for small and medium enterprise development provided by expanding domestic markets for fish, including growing urban demand; supporting the emerging regional trade in aquaculture products; harnessing the opportunity of expanding export markets for high-value products to increase investment in African aquaculture production and processing; expanding the adoption of integrated small-scale aquaculture as a means of increasing rural productivity and food security; and exploiting the potential of aquaculture production to contribute to food security programmes.



On Tuesday, 9 November 2008, Chair Lionel Awity, Deputy Director for Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture, Ghana, opened the session on behalf of Jacques Diouf, FAO Director General, and Ichiro Nomoura, Assistant Director General of Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, FAO.

Noureddin Mona, FAO Representative in Zambia, stressed the potential benefits of aquaculture to African development, and drew attention to associated challenges. He underscored the centrality of inland capture fisheries to African populations, and reminded delegates how poorly understood many of those resources remain. In this light, he called upon the Committee to support SPADA’s emphasis on small- and medium-sized enterprises. He drew attention to the need for an Aquaculture Network for Africa (ANAF), and to engage both the public and private sectors. Linking both initiatives, he emphasized the benefits of economies of scale and synergies between countries and sectors. He concluded by urging delegates to focus on local implementation of regional policy.

Bradford Machila, Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, Zambia, highlighted the importance of national and regional inland fisheries. He stressed that Zambia is a net importer of fish, and welcomed the inclusion of aquaculture into CIFAA’s remit. Citing the importance of education and improved fish seed quality initiatives, he called for a focus on commercial aquaculture and warned against ignoring small-scale operators. He emphasized the need to implement the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, and for national plans of action against illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. He concluded by stating that co-management has been undertaken nationally to combat overexploitation, and called for regulation and cage technologies to be explored. 


Because this matter affected the agenda, it was discussed before its consideration, on Tuesday, 9 December.

Background: The Secretary introduced the document (CIFAA/XV/2008/2) that sets out the issues regarding the rules of procedure on the election of the Chair and Vice-Chair. When the Committee was established in 1971, the rules of procedure provided for the election of the Chair and the Vice-Chair at the end of the sessions. Current procedures call for the elections at the beginning of the session. The document suggested that this process hinders the reporting of intersessional work to the Committee by the Chair who oversaw it. It is proposed that the Chair incumbent during the intersessional period should chair the subsequent session CIFAA.

The Secretary asked for decisions by the Committee on three questions, namely: whether to maintain the current structure or reinstate the original procedure; how to address the chairing of the present session; and whether the Chair or Vice-Chair should automatically be a national of the host country, or could be independently elected.

Discussion: On the procedure for electing a Chair and Vice-Chair, delegates were unanimous in their support to revert to the original arrangement, whereby the Chair who presides over the interim period also chairs the following session. On the question of whether the Chair must necessarily be from the host country, there was a division between delegates that felt that a free choice is a more transparent way to proceed, and those that highlighted the efficiencies of having a national of the host country as Vice-Chair of the meeting. Chair Awity (Ghana) proposed that Zambia, who was the Vice-Chair, would chair the 16th session of the CIFAA and that the Committee decide who should chair the current session.

Outcome: Delegates decided:

  • to revert to electing the Chair and Vice-Chair at the end of each session;
  • that the Vice-Chair of a session should automatically become the Chair of the next session;
  • that the country that offers to host the following session be able to nominate the Vice-Chair for that session; and
  • that Ghana will continue to chair the 15th session.


On Tuesday, 9 December, the Secretary introduced the draft agenda (CIFAA/XV/2008/1) and called for suggested amendments and additions. Uganda called for discussion of aquaculture in emergency situations; Chad suggested the national exploitation of Spirulina; the NEPAD asked for time to present on an ANAF; Zambia and Namibia called for focus on responses to fish diseases; Uganda added shared water bodies; and Madagascar included the sustainability of lakes. The agenda was adopted with these additions and with the decision to hold the elections of the Chair and Vice-Chair at the end of the session.


FOLLOW-UP ACTIONS TO THE 14th SESSION OF CIFA: Background: On Tuesday, 9 December, the Secretariat introduced the document (CIFAA/XV/2008/3) on intersessional activities. It sets out that CIFA held its 14th session in Accra, Ghana, in November 2006. That session focused on the regional dimensions of inland fisheries and aquaculture development, evaluating how the Committee could be strengthened to add value to both sub-sectors. The session reviewed key issues that could best be addressed through effective regional collaboration, including: co-management; stock assessment; combating IUU fishing; maintenance of ecosystems; and quality control of regionally traded products. The discussions highlighted how economies of scale often made regional approaches the most efficient and how these approaches and collaborations are areas where the CIFAA could create positive impacts. Participants also made a series of recommendations.

The Secretariat made specific reference to work undertaken on: the Lake Tanganyika Authority; an ANAF; the African Water Resource Database; the completion of the Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Programme, and efforts to build on its success; the continued development of information systems, including National Aquaculture Sector Overviews; the diversification of aquaculture programmes through SPADA; and increased links with regional economic communities. He called on delegates to continue to raise the national profile of fisheries, sensitize high level policy makers on aquaculture’s potential, and involve the private sector. The CIFAA was requested to note progress and make recommendations as appropriate.

Discussion: Uganda called for more focus on the private sector. NEPAD underscored the need to raise the political profile of inland fisheries and aquaculture, and detailed the formation of a high level task force on fisheries composed of African Fisheries Ministers.

INTERSESSIONAL CAPTURE FISHERIES ACTIVITIES: Background: On Tuesday, 9 December, the Secretariat introduced the document (CIFAA/XV/2008/Inf.4) that sets out reviews of intersessional progress for countries in East, Central and West Africa on capture fisheries activities. He highlighted CIFAA’s emphasis on: food security, poverty reduction and economic growth; the ecosystem approach; the role of public-private partnerships; aquaculture innovation; and CIFAA’s relationship with regional bodies. He expressed concern that national activities may not be directly addressing these priority areas, but acknowledged that coordination has been more developed at regional levels. The Secretariat requested the Committee to note the report and make recommendations for future implementation.

Discussion: Uganda highlighted the alarming decline in fisheries’ production, and called for renewed focus on shared water bodies, IUU control and support for rural communities. NEPAD requested the CIFAA to address the need for effective resource mobilization for the sub-sector and proposed that the CIFAA strengthen its relationship with the African Development Bank. Chad and Cameroon called for assistance on managing shared water bodies. The Secretariat summarized that more focus is required on inland fisheries and called for strengthening CIFAA’s inland fisheries strategy.

INTERSESSIONAL AQUACULTURE ACTIVITIES: Background: On Tuesday, 9 December, the Secretariat introduced the document (CIFAA/XV/2008/Inf.5) on the intersessional activities on aquaculture. Specific activities are summarized under the individual thematic areas of the framework of the SPADA, namely, working to strengthen: institutions and enabling frameworks; networking and outreach; capital and input supply; processing and marketing; research and education; social, economic and environmental soundness; and monitoring, evaluation and planning. He made special mention of the fourth session of the COFI/AQ held in Puerto Varas, Chile, from 6-10 October 2008, and the impacts of climate change on aquaculture.

Discussion: Uganda commended the work on genetic improvement and suggested a special programme for catfish aquaculture and research into alternative fish-feed sources. NEPAD commented on the development of national aquaculture frameworks and called for suggestions on translating these into national plans. He also suggested considering a partnership with the WorldFish Center. Kenya called for more research into cage culture. The LVFO suggested continuing small targeted projects similar to Technical Cooperation Programmes and called for the creation of a forum to develop political will and funding for high level sectoral support.

INTERSESSIONAL REPORT OF THE AHWG ON ESTABLISHING A “NACA-LIKE” NETWORK FOR AFRICA: Background: On Tuesday, 9 December, the Secretariat introduced the document (CIFAA/XV/2008/Inf.6) that sets out that the 14th Session of CIFA unanimously endorsed the establishment of an AHWG to work towards the development of an ANAF, according to the model of Network of Aquaculture Centers in Asia (NACA). Following this decision, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zambia formed the AHWG. The AHWG assessed the conditions whereby an ANAF could provide skills, technology and information for future development of aquaculture in the region. The network is premised on the need for resources for its establishment to come from member countries.

The AHWG on an ANAF held three meetings: in Kribi, Cameroon, on 28 and 29 June 2007; in Akosombo, Ghana, from 23 to 25 July 2008; and in Jinja, Uganda, from 26 to 28 August 2008. The key focus of deliberations and activities was on the institutional arrangements and associated legal issues. A review was prepared of institutional options for an ANAF, which compared national legal and administrative requirements for establishing an Intergovernmental Organization (IGO) versus a regional NGO.

The AHWG recommended that:

  • the IGO structure seems the most feasible;
  • the network should set up temporary operations in collaboration with LVFO, taking advantage of complementarities and benefits in terms of infrastructure and support staff; and
  • immediate resources be sought while a project for the medium-term establishment of the network is formulated and funding sourced.

The Secretariat requested the Committee to discuss and decide on the finding that the establishment of an ANAF is a long-term process of gradual interconnectedness and growth, and that a project should be established and supported by member countries alongside opportunities for external support. The Committee was also requested to discuss and decide on the future of the AHWG on an ANAF and decide on its continuation or termination.

Discussion: Uganda proposed, and delegates agreed, to a two-pronged approach to the creation of an ANAF through initial projects alongside the development of documentation on institutional structure and national commitments. It was also agreed that the AHWG should continue its work. Swaziland raised concern that countries may not be willing or able to provide financial support for an ANAF. NEPAD suggested that ANAF can reach many short-term objectives with limited additional inputs. The LVFO offered to act as interim host for an ANAF. Chair Awity suggested that the AHWG complete its initial proposal of the institutional structure within six months. SARNISSA expressed interest in contributing to an ANAF.

Outcome: The Committee recommended that the AHWG on an ANAF continue its activities with a view to reconvening in early 2009.   


Background: On Tuesday and Thursday, 9 and 11 December, the Secretary introduced the document (CIFAA/XV/2008/4) that sets out a series of considerations regarding the CIFAA’s terms of reference and includes an appendix containing possible elements for their revision. It states that the terms of reference may need to be updated to take into account modern over-arching socio-cultural and economic concerns such as biodiversity conservation, climate change, pressure on resources and long-term sustainability. The Secretary requested the Committee to assess the current terms of reference, determine whether they should be revised, and who should undertake that task.

Discussion: There was unanimous support to review the terms of reference. It was suggested that each region be represented in the drafting group, which consisted of Nigeria for West Africa, Chad for Central Africa, and Zimbabwe for Southern Africa, with Zambia, NEPAD and the LVFO to assist. Uganda also suggested that the terms of reference for the Chair be reviewed.

Decision: The drafting group revised, and the Committee approved, the draft revised terms of reference for the CIFAA. It was agreed that the Secretariat will ensure the advancement of these draft revised terms of reference, transmitting their final version to member countries prior to submission to the FAO Council for approval. The draft revised terms of reference of the CIFAA contain the following elements:

  • Coordination: to serve as a platform for intra-regional discussion, planning and exchange of experiences to promote wide application of best practices leading to sustainable development of aquaculture and sustainable use of capture fisheries;
  • Collaboration: to actively promote collaboration amongst all stakeholders with special attention given to regional and sub-regional structures;
  • Communication and information: to promote and support enhanced communications and information exchange among member States and their stakeholders, including actively collaborating with specific regional networks;
  • Sustainable management: to promote sustainable management and the application of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and Aquaculture, as well as relevant best practices.
  • Resource use and access: to promote equitable access to the region’s land and water resources whilst supporting responsible and sustainable use;
  • Aquaculture development: to assist member States to develop and implement aquaculture programmes that are consistent with national food security strategies and poverty reduction; support member States to adopt an ecosystem approach to aquaculture development; and support increased role of private sector and other non-State actors in national and regional aquaculture development initiatives.
  • Inland fisheries development: to assist member States to develop and implement inland fisheries programmes that are consistent with national food security strategies and poverty reduction; and support member States to adopt an ecosystem approach to inland fisheries development;
  • Statistics: to promote the collection, management, analysis and use of valid and credible statistics in the management of the region’s resources;
  • Policy and planning: to benchmark and promote the adoption of appropriate policies, strategies and plans for the management of the sub-sectors at national, sub-regional and regional levels;
  • Education, training and research: to serve as a focal point for coordination, harmonization and facilitation of education and research on inland fisheries and aquaculture undertaken in the region;
  • Evaluation and monitoring: to endorse proactive monitoring and evaluation programmes, and provide guidance for the implementation of those programmes at national, sub-regional and regional levels;
  • Co-management: to promote effective representation and participation of fishing communities in fisheries management;
  • Technical and financial resource mobilization: to assist member governments in formulating regional and national programmes in aquaculture and capture fisheries, and in the mobilization of resources; and encourage member States to mobilize and utilise their own national resources so as to increase the sense of ownership of the CIFAA;
  • Environmental and biodiversity conservation: to promote and sponsor environmental and biodiversity conservation, including through: the adoption of appropriate technologies; advise on transboundary movement of aquatic organisms, including the use of genetically modified organisms; the establishment of conservation areas as appropriate; and accurate and timely monitoring, as well as proactive engagement to protect endangered resources; and
  • Quality control and consumer protection: to advance quality control and consumer protection by supporting member States to formulate and implement quality standards.


Background: On Tuesday, 9 December, the Secretary introduced the document (CIFAA/XV/2008/5) that sets out the issues relevant to the question of whether the Sub-Committee for Lake Tanganyika should be abolished. It states that the Sub-Committee was established at the third session of CIFA held in Bujumbura, Burundi, on 21-26 November 1977. The document reminds delegates that, conscious of the need to eliminate statutory bodies that are obsolete, the FAO Conference, in Resolution 13/97, recommended that parent bodies abolish their subsidiary bodies unless they consider that there are overriding reasons to retain them.

The Secretary explained that the document was written on the basis that the Lake Tanganyika Management Committee would have completed its work by the present session and would be ready to launch the Lake Tanganyika Authority. Because this has not happened, he suggested postponing the decision on abolishing the CIFAA Sub-Committee for Lake Tanganyika until the next session.

Discussion: There was unanimous support for the Secretary’s suggestion.

Outcome: It was decided to postpone the discussion of the abolition of the Sub-Committee for Lake Tanganyika until the 16th session of CIFAA.


Background: On Tuesday, 9 December the Secretary presented the document (CIFAA/XV/2008/6) and explained that the SPADA is a follow-up to the recommendation by the third session of COFI/AQ held in 2006, in India, and the 27th Session of the COFI, which requested FAO to develop a special programme to accelerate aquaculture development in Africa. The SPADA was endorsed and launched by the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department in 2008, and is implemented by the Department through the FAO’s Regional Office for Africa. It was developed in collaboration with NEPAD and conforms to the NEPAD Action Plan for the Development of African Fisheries and Aquaculture, as well as the Millennium Development Goals.

SPADA responds to the new political will to promote aquaculture in Africa for food security, poverty alleviation and economic development, and focuses particularly on Sub-Saharan African countries. The programme concentrates on priorities and needs of stakeholders with a view to establishing aquaculture as a significant food production sector in Africa, under the following thematic areas: institutions and enabling frameworks; networking and outreach; capital and input supply; processing and marketing; research and education; social, economic and environmental soundness; and monitoring, evaluation and planning.

The Secretary requested the Committee to comment upon and endorse the SPADA, as the coherent framework for aquaculture development in Africa, and make recommendations as to how to support its implementation in terms of financial and human resources at national, sub-regional and regional levels.

Discussion: Lesotho requested clarification on the relationship between the SPADA and the ANAF and Chair Awity called for the ANAF to use its office to promote the SPADA. Swaziland emphasized the scale of resources needed and called for an evaluation of aquaculture’s potential in Africa. Uganda suggested studying the impediments to existing markets. He stressed the challenge of providing government support for private institutions. Zimbabwe and Namibia stressed the need for building and maintaining human capacity. NEPAD and Uganda highlighted the link between SPADA and FAO’s African fisheries strategy. Cameroon and Kenya underscored the need for political will at the national level, with Chad suggesting using AU meetings to mobilize support. Nigeria, supported by ECOWAS and Senegal, called for harmonization between the SPADA and existing national programmes. 

The Secretary clarified that the ANAF is both an output and component of the SPADA with the ANAF reaching full competency as the SPADA completes its work. He reminded delegates that the SPADA has been approved by FAO and is established as a multi-donor trust fund. He stressed the programme’s focus on profitable aquaculture, as well as research and education on African-specific aquaculture. He concluded by calling on delegates to continue to identify priorities and approaches for promoting the SPADA.

Outcome: The Committee endorsed the SPADA, within the context of additional actions required to help advance it.


Background: On Tuesday 9 December, the Secretariat presented the document (CIFAA/XV/2008/7) that provides an overview of inland fisheries in Africa, highlighting issues relating to ways and means of increasing the contribution of these fisheries to Africa’s development. It states that there is substantial potential to increase the contribution of well-managed inland fisheries to social and economic welfare without jeopardizing sustainability. It further suggests that this could be achieved by identifying key issues and constraints that need to be overcome, and by addressing those processes and mechanisms that continue to lead to overexploitation and poverty at policy and institutional levels. The document sets out possible avenues for the development, agreement and implementation of a regional strategy for sustainable inland fisheries in Africa.

The Secretariat emphasized the NEPAD Action Plan for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development in Africa that lists primary areas for investment in inland fisheries, as well as the NEPAD Environment Action Plan that includes suggested action on: governance; environmental sustainability; transboundary management; institutions and policy frameworks; market access; and food security and nutrition. The Committee was invited to consider, advise and decide on recommendations for follow-up action on the following questions: whether a strategy for inland fisheries in Africa is needed; whether the proposed themes and issues for action are relevant; what should be the next steps in elaborating on and finalizing the strategy; what is the specific technical support needed from the CIFAA and FAO; and which other partners and donors should be approached.

Discussion: Chad summarized its work on Spirulina and called for support from the CIFAA and member countries to access markets. A number of delegates called for an inland fisheries development strategy to be addressed by an AHWG. Swaziland urged the group to consider existing initiatives in order to avoid duplication of efforts and Chad requested clarification of the size and remit of an AHWG. Botswana recommended the report of the AHWG be available for comments in advance of the 16th session of CIFAA. NEPAD offered its support and suggested convening the AHWG at other meetings to reduce costs. 

Outcome: Member countries decided on the creation of an AHWG to develop an inland fisheries development strategy. Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia agreed to become members of the AHWG, with Zimbabwe to contribute electronically. It was requested to report on its work at the CIFAA’s 16th session. 


Background: On Wednesday 10 December, the Secretariat presented the document (CIFAA/XV/2008/8) that provides an overview of the post-harvest fish loss assessment (PHLA) case studies undertaken in Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Tanzania and Uganda. The paper focuses on issues affecting the availability of fish from a holistic value chain perspective and proposes measures for enhanced marketing of fish food products in the region. It notes that a significant amount of fish intended for consumption does not reach consumers for a variety of reasons. Quality loss as a result of downgrading the product occurs frequently, but is rarely acknowledged, and results in significant financial and monetary impacts, as well as food safety concerns. Root causes linked to post-harvest practices are identified, with significant losses incurring due to the upstream and downstream post-harvest practices. The paper notes that regional trade is affected by both physical and quality losses, in addition to the multiplicity of checkpoints and inadequate market information. It further highlights how policy measures can ensure that the objectives of the loss reduction interventions are met. Referring to the need to better target scarce development resources and the impossibility of reaching zero loss status in fisheries, the paper emphasizes that post-harvest losses should be addressed comprehensively and by adopting a more holistic approach. For this purpose, it states that cost-effective interventions should focus on significant losses, which is only possible following a thorough examination.

Based on the finding of the studies, the Secretariat suggested the Committee take action in five key areas, namely: complementing PHLA initiatives; undertaking loss reduction initiatives on already covered fisheries; completing value chain analyses; documenting and exploiting effective coping strategies; and taking into account policy measures. In particular the Committee was asked to emphasize the practical means to address issues raised and capitalize on assets identified for secured regional supply in aquatic products.

Discussion: Chad requested an expansion of the PHLA to include more countries. Cameroon stressed challenges presented by rural power and water supply limitations in ice-making. Uganda and Cote d’Ivoire recommended development of standards for salted, sundried and smoked products, and a system for tracking regional exports. COMESA highlighted food safety concerns and the COMESA Green Pass certification scheme. The Secretariat concluded by stating that the development of standards alone is insufficient, and underscored the need for monitoring and enforcement.


Background: On Wednesday, 10 December, the Secretariat introduced the document (CIFAA/XV/2008/9) on potential areas of cooperation and coordination between CIFAA and existing regional mechanisms and programmes. The first part of the document highlights the potential of inland fisheries and aquaculture in Africa while stressing the need for improvement in current programmes. The second part argues that regional cooperation is a key component of CIFAA’s development. A list of potential regional partners and programmes to liaise with is provided in the third part, as well as associated challenges. The Secretariat urged delegates to scale-up regional cooperation and promote institutional synergies on a formalized basis. He invited the Committee to comment on the analysis and provide guidance on next steps.

Discussion: COMESA suggested, and NEPAD supported, taking advantage of existing regional development organizations, such as COMESA and ECOWAS, to ensure harmonization of programmes and promote economies of scale. Cameroon suggested increased communication with regional organizations, and the WorldFish Center highlighted the capacity of regional partners to coordinate work within their areas of expertise. Zambia highlighted its commitment to the CIFAA through its budget, and called for other member countries to demonstrate their political will through by the provision of funding. Chair Awity called for more active communication between the Chair and member countries during the intersessional period. Swaziland expressed hope that increased coordination will minimize the duplication of projects. In summary, Chair Awity stressed the need to develop concrete proposals from the discussion, and underscored that funding remains the major constraint.


Discussion: This item was addressed by the Committee on Wednesday, 10 December. The Secretary noted that EIA in aquaculture, coordinated responses to fish diseases, and sustainability of freshwater lakes had been proposed during the discussions as possible topics for the 16th session. SARNISSA called for capacity building to be added and Swaziland suggested the effects of climate change on inland fisheries, as well as how access and benefit sharing relates to fisheries. NEPAD proposed strengthening capacity for domestic and regional trade in fish products, including an investigation of post-harvest methods. In relation to seminars at future sessions of the CIFAA, the Secretary suggested that delegates should decide whether there is demand for a seminar, and if so, what topic it should focus on, instead of it being chosen by the Secretariat as is currently the case.

Outcome: The Secretariat will select topics for the 16th session from delegates’ suggestions and the Committee agreed it should decide on the need for and topics of future seminars.


On Wednesday 10 December, the Committee addressed the need to support aquaculture in emergency situations. The Secretary suggested that emergency provision for fisheries be provided only after studies of the resources have been undertaken. Chad responded by stating that there is conflict in his sub-region due to lack of resources, and called for emergency assistance. NEPAD requested member country support for the Partnership for African Fisheries in order to realize fisheries trade policy reform. He also highlighted NEPAD’s role in developing an African voice on global issues, creating an African development think-tank, supporting regional network development and capacity building.


On Thursday, 11 December, Chad and Cote d’Ivoire offered to host the next session of CIFAA, to be held in late 2010, yet no decision was taken.


On Wednesday, 10 December, Zambia was elected to Chair the CIFAA until the end of its 16th Session.


The report was adopted on Thursday, 11 December, with the addition of shared water bodies to the topics for consideration at the 16th Session and other minor changes.


Chair Awity introduced the seminar on Wednesday, 10 December, urging delegates to apply the knowledge conveyed during the seminar at the national level. Sloans Chimatiro, NEPAD, highlighted NEPAD’s work to improve the competitiveness of African economies through management tools and by upgrading the knowledge economy. He said improved competitiveness of African fish products is contingent on research, processing technology, biochemistry and access to markets. Kevern Cochrane, FAO, presented on information tools in inland captive fisheries. He highlighted that despite the wealth of information on fisheries, sources are difficult to access and are not aimed at a broad enough range of stakeholders. Matthias Halwart, FAO, provided an overview of FAO’s aquaculture information products and how to access them, and listed related sources of information.

Nathaniel Hishamunda, FAO, presented on a flexible and user-friendly investment model for small- and medium-scale aquaculture investors, and gave an interactive demonstration of the tool. Karen Veverica, Auburn University, US, presented on a web-based distance learning aquaculture course that results in the award of a certificate. She illustrated the modules and learning methods, and called for inputs to the pilot programme. Emmanuel Kaunda, SARNISSA, presented on a project developing an information network for aquaculture stakeholders in Africa and called for discussion on potential collaboration with the CIFAA and the divide between research and policy.

Responding to questions, presenters suggested that information networks should not duplicate existing networks and called for the information to be of a high quality. They highlighted the management challenges from stock assessments and local governance perspectives.

In the discussion, delegates raised a number of points, including: the importance of sharing information at the farm level; the challenges of transmitting local and national knowledge to the international community; the utility of decision support and stock assessment tools, as well as species identification resources; and the information requirements for management decisions and approaches to community management and monitoring.


GENERAL FISHERIES COMMISSION FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN COMMITTEE ON AQUACULTURE 10TH SIPAM ANNUAL MEETING AND SIXTH SESSION: The annual meeting of the Network on Information System for the Promotion of Aquaculture in the Mediterranean (SIPAM) is scheduled to take place from 15-16 December 2008, and the sixth session from 17-19 December 2008, in Tirana, Albania. For more information, contact: Fabio Massa, FIEF, FAO; tel: +39 06 570 53885; fax: +39 06 570 53020; email:; internet:

TECHNICAL CONSULTATION TO DRAFT A LEGALLY-BINDING INSTRUMENT ON PORT STATE MEASURES TO PREVENT, DETER AND ELIMINATE ILLEGAL, UNREPORTED AND UNREGULATED FISHING: This resumed session will take place from 26-30 January 2009, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: David Doulman, FAO; tel: +39-6-570-56752; fax: +39-6-570-56500; email:; internet:

FAO COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES – 28TH SESSION: This international meeting of government representatives will take place from 2-6 March 2009, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: Ndiaga Gueye, FIEL, FAO; tel: +39-6-5705-2847; fax: +39- 6-5705-6500; email:; internet:  

SECOND MEETING OF REGIONAL FISHERY BODY SECRETARIATS NETWORK: This meeting will take place from 9-10 March 2009, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: Hiromoto Watanabe; email:; internet:

FIFTH WORLD WATER FORUM: This meeting will take place from 16-22 March 2009, in Istanbul, Turkey. The agenda will focus on addressing a range of priority issues from a multistakeholder perspective. For more information, contact: World Water Council Secretariat; tel: +33-4-91-99-41-00; fax: +33-4-91-99-41-01; e-mail:; internet:

GENERAL FISHERIES COMMISSION FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN – 33RD SESSION AND COMMITTEE ON COMPLIANCE – THIRD SESSION: These meetings will take place from 23-27 March 2009, in Tunis, Tunisia. For more information, contact: Alain Bozon, FIEL, FAO; email:; internet:

REGIONAL COMMISSION FOR FISHERIES – FIFTH SESSION: This meeting will take place from 12-14 May 2009, in Dubai, UAE. For more information, contact: Piero Mannini, Regional Office for the Near East; tel: +39-8-7570-8252; fax: +39-8-7572-0065 email:; internet:

COMMITTEE FOR EASTERN CENTRAL ATLANTIC FISHERIES - SCIENTIFIC SUB-COMMITTEE – SIXTH SESSION: This meeting will take place in 2009 on a date and at a venue to be determined. For more information, contact: Alhaji Jallow, Regional Office for Africa; email:; internet:

ASIA PACIFIC FISHERIES COMMISION - EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE - 72ND SESSION: This executive committee meeting will take place in 2009 on a date and at venue to be determined. For more information, contact: Simon Funge-Smith, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific; email:; internet:

34TH WATER ENGINEERING AND DEVELOPMENT CENTRE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: The focus of the meeting will be on multisectoral approaches to water and sanitation. It will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 18-22 May 2009. For more information, contact: meeting organizers; email:; internet:

WORLD AQUACULTURE 2009: This international academic conference will take place in Veracruz, Mexico, from 25-29 May 2009. For more information, contact: John Cooksey; email:; internet:


Ad Hoc Working Group
Aquaculture Network for Africa
African Union
Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme
Committee for Inland Fisheries of Africa
Committee for Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture of Africa
Committee on Fisheries
COFI Sub-Committee on Aquaculture
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
Economic Community of West African States
Environmental Impact Assessment
Food and Agriculture Organization
Intergovernmental Organization
Illegal, unregulated and unreported
Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization
Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific
New Partnership for Africa’s Development
Non-governmental organization
Post-harvest loss assessment
Regional Fisheries Bodies
Sustainable Aquaculture Research Networks in Sub-Saharan Africa
Special Programme for Aquaculture Development in Africa

The CIFAA-15 Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <>. This issue was written by Harry Jonas and Matthew Sommerville. The Editor is Alice Bisiaux. The CIFAA Bulletin is part of IISD Reporting Service’s African Regional Coverage (ARC) Project in partnership with South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), the UN Environment Programme’s Regional Office for Africa (UNEP ROA) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <>. The Programme Manager of the African Regional Coverage Project is Richard Sherman <>. Funding for the CIFAA Bulletin has been provided by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Development Research Centre, Canada, through the African Regional Coverage Project for IISD Reporting Service’s coverage of African regional meetings. IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to the electronic distribution list (in HTML and PDF formats) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <>. For information on the ARC, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11A, New York, New York 10022, United States of America.
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