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Africa’s small-scale fisheries critical to food security

Credit: African Development Bank

small-scale fisheries play a critical role in global food security and must be
supported with greater research and investment, say international and African

NGO, government and academic representatives attended Murdoch University’s
second Blue Economy Symposium in Tunis last week as part of the Africa Blue Economy
Forum (ABEF) 2019 and Murdoch University’s Third Commission, a research
investigation focusing on issues of public concern to Africa.
accounts for more than one-fifth of the protein intake of African south of the
Sahara and provides a livelihood to millions of people.
University Adjunct Professor, Dr. Jeremy Prince, who attended the symposium and
is contributing to the work the Third Commission in this area, said the
collective value of the small scale fisheries of Africa was too big to ignore.
“It is
critical that we stabilise and rebuild these fisheries to ensure both food
security and the future of the blue economy,” Dr Prince said. “The time to act
is now.”
at the Tunis symposium provided useful insights and contributions to the
fine-tuning of the focus and narrative of the Blue Economy chapter of the Third
Commission’s report. A strong emphasis was placed on the need to highlight
clear and innovative actions to effect lasting transformation of the blue
economy in Africa.
in the symposium called on all nations and international institutions to
recognise the value and economic impact of small-scale fisheries in Africa.
Their recommendations included:
investment to allow fishing communities to be more involved in the
co-management of fisheries; and
engaging with fishing communities to collect and share relevant data regarding
the state and economic value of small-scale coastal fisheries.
About the
Third Commission
In keeping
with Murdoch University’s commitment to quality research and teaching in public
policy at both the national and international levels, Murdoch Commissions are
exercises in applied public policy informed by rigorous scholarly research and
analytical thinking. They bring together senior practitioners, international
experts and thought leaders from Australia and around the world to work on
pressing problems and issues of public concern.
The first
Murdoch Commission, “Western Australia and the evolving regional order:
challenges and opportunities” published its final report in November 2013 and
the second Murdoch Commission, “Food security, trade and partnerships: Towards
resilient regional food systems in Asia” released its report in December 2015.
Third Commission commenced in June of 2018 and is focused on six themes firmly
rooted in the agenda for action identified by the Africa Progress Panel (APP)
as being in need of more significant research attention, bolder policy
innovation, faster implementation on the ground, enhanced political leadership
and the conceptualisation and roll out of innovative research solutions.
These themes
Equity in the Extractive Industries: Managing the Extractives Industry in a
more equitable, transformative and sustainable;
Boosting the
Blue Economy: Better Monitoring, Governing and Harnessing of the Blue Economy;
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production: Enhancing Sustainable Farming and
Food Production and Nutritional Security;
Power and Light: Creating greater and more innovative access to Modern Energy
(Electricity and Light) Fast; and
themes of Women & Youth and Climate Change.
overarching focus of the Third Commission is identifying small scale policy
interventions that have potential to make big impacts.
it seeks to enhance Murdoch University’s links with Africa in areas of the
university’s comparative advantage, including research and innovation
expertise, strategic interest and networking capabilities within Australia, in
Africa and globally.

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