ECOFISH, technically supported by Incatema, is looking at stepping up efforts to make East Africa’s fishery resources guarantee food security in the face of drought

4 May, 2023

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an advisory body to ECOFISH (EU programme technically supported by Incatema), has held a consultation forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, focusing on the possibility of strengthening concerted efforts to enhance the development of fishery resources in East Africa and the Indian Ocean region.

At this forum, Mr Wassie Anteneh, IGAD expert, pointed out that food security could be ensured through large-scale exploitation of fishery resources in East Africa. "The fisheries sector in these African regions can contribute to accelerated economic growth and development to generate income, nutrition, employment and export earnings, and overall food security," says Anteneh.

The coastal marine and inland fishery resources of the East African, Southern African and Indian Ocean region represent a natural wealth of some 50 billion euros. The ECOFISH programme strives to ensure the sustainable management of these assets by implementing policies to manage them effectively, protecting them and promoting good fishing practices, as we have already reported here.

The fishery sector: the basis for ensuring food security in the face of drought

"The region is severely affected by recurrent droughts and chronic problems of food insecurity," said the IGAD expert, who stressed that "the huge fishery resources in the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, in the great lakes such as Victoria and Turkana, as well as in the large transboundary rivers with high fishery potential are an opportunity to diversify livelihoods and increase community resilience".

In this sense, Mrs Ana Romero, project manager of Incatema Consulting, points out that "fishing is a potential alternative to combat food insecurity in the Horn of Africa, due to the immense fishing potential in the region. It is therefore essential to ensure the sustainable development of this potential, protecting fish stocks to ensure that future generations can continue to fish in these areas.

According to Anteneh, the knowledge-based utilisation and management of the enormous potential of fisheries in transboundary areas, including sustainable food safety standards, is of utmost importance.

In addition, Mr Sunil Sveniri, ECOFISH technical coordinator, pointed out that it is possible to secure economic benefits by supporting and developing local fishery resources with technology for domestic use and to achieve economic benefits for the sector by exporting these products.