The ECOFISH programme, technically supported by Incatema, presents a statistical system for improving the efficient use of fishing resources

25 February, 2022

The EU’s ECOFISH Programme, with technical support form Incatema, has initiated development of a statistical system for improving the assessment of the fishing industry’s contribution to the national economy in eleven countries of East Africa, South Africa, and the Indian Ocean. It is a tool that will help beneficiary countries make better informed decisions regarding the potential use of their maritime resources and limited financial resources.

The creation of this statistical system forms part of the first expected result of the ECOFISH Programme intended to improve the regional policies and institutional frameworks for guaranteeing sustainable management of fisheries and contributing to the preservation of marine biodiversity, as we previously reported here.

This action is particularly relevant given the lack of socioeconomic or scientific information regarding almost 80% of global fish catches, despite the importance of fishing for subsistence, food security, and wealth creation in developing countries.

An inclusive system can increase the region’s fishing profits by 5 billion USD per year

To deal with this situation, ECOFISH will provide the Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Sudan, Somalia and Tanzania with a more inclusive fishing statistical system. This system known as the Blue Economy Fisheries Satellite Account (BEFSA) aims to guarantee that policy development and monitoring is based on scientific evidence and data on a national and regional level. Through BEFSA, those responsible for decision-making in the region will benefit from relevant information to direct the exploitation of maritime resources effectively.

According to a World Bank study conducted in 2016, the West Indian Ocean region could increase its fishing profits by 5 billion dollars a year. This statistical system developed in the context of the ECOFISH Programme will contribute to this, as an improved assessment of the resources will generate increased capacities in these regions for effective management of the sector, so that it can achieve its full potential.

To design this tool, the inventory has been updated of institutional frameworks, interested parties, and data relating to the different components of maritime fishing. Based on the results, a technical proposal and a table of regional indicators for the fishing industry have been prepared, and both proposals have been presented to the destination countries for their approval and adoption during a multilateral seminar held on 22 and 23 February 2022 in Nairobi (Kenya).

Funded and promoted by the European Union, ECOFISH aims to use sustainable fishing as an economic lever for the region of East Africa, South Africa, and the Indian Ocean. The initiative for the region’s statistical system will be directed by COMESA, an executive agency, as are the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), Lake Tanganyika Authority (LTA), Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation (LVFO), the East African Community (EAC) and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).