Africa-Press – Ethiopia. A workshop aimed at facilitating the reviewing of performance of the Eco-fish programs and activities at national and IGAD levels as well as assess cooperation among IGAD members, southern Africa and the Indian Ocean is underway in Addis Ababa.
Opening the IGAD Fisheries Coordination Platform Workshop, Agriculture State Minister Fikru Regassa said Ethiopia is working to utilize its fish resource and cooperating with IGAD.
“Ethiopia in its 10-year strategic development plan and agricultural plan has paid significant attention to the fishery and aqua culture development.”
According to him, the workshop will review the performance of the Eco-fish programs and activities at the sub-regional IGAD and at national level.
Stating that IGAD Secretariat has multilateral projects that are implemented in Ethiopia, the state minister said “we will closely collaborate with IGAD Secretariat regarding fishery development, management processes and expected results of cooperation.”
IGAD has started assisting Ethiopia’s fishery sub-sector and it is in the process of supporting its National Blue Economy Strategy.
Representative of IGAD Executive Secretary, Abebe M. Beyene said on his part that the IGAD region is endowed with very diverse inland and marine ecosystems of immense fish resource that needs better attention and coordination to use it.
Five IGAD member states, namely Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya, are coastal countries with a total of about 7000KM length and about 1.2 million kilometer square exclusive economic zone, he noted.
“The fish productivity in this marine zone is very high. Generally, the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden region is globally known for the uniqueness of its costal and marine bio-diversity,” Abebe elaborated.
Despite the potential resource that could be used to ensure food security and export both in IGAD member states and in Africa, “there is less attention and focus to develop the fisheries sub- sector,” the representative stressed.
Fishery activity in the region is often illegal, unreported and unregulated, especially in Somalia, he said, further pointing out that lack of economic zone is also a challenge except in Kenya.
EU’s flagship project in East Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region Manager, Madev Balloo, stated that the meeting is aimed at strengthening inter-regional collaboration of the IGAD sub-region to promote sustainable, inclusive and integrated management of fisheries resources.
“This is crucial in a bid to promote synergies at a time resources are limited and fishery resources are depleting at an alarming rate.”
The EU thus recommends Indian Ocean Commission, IGAD and all the relevant stakeholders to promote the activities that feature mainly strategic action of the marine work plan.
The workshop will stay until August 18, 2022.