Sustainable fisheries development
along the East Africa coast and in the South
West Indian Ocean (SWIO) region is to receive World Bank financial support,
following recent approval of a US$91 million fisheries loan and grant package
aimed at improving regional cooperation and management of near shore and deep
sea marine resources.
To be used over the next six
years, the various loans and grants include funding for fisheries schemes in Mozambique,
Tanzania and Comoros.
The overall project also includes
a grant to support work undertaken by the Indian Ocean Commission. This will
benefit the member countries of the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries
Commission and French overseas territories in the region which include La
Reunion and several other islands with extensive Exclusive Economic Zones
Thought to be one of the World
Bank’s largest fisheries projects in terms of funding, the size of the loan and
grant package reflects the importance of fisheries to the economic and social
development of SWIO countries and territories.
Among the various grants that
have been awarded, the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) will use a US$3 million
grant from the World Bank’s International Development Association to improve
regional cooperation and coordination in the management and development of
sustainable fisheries among all South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission
These are: Comoros,
Yemen and French
The grant will be used to finance
efforts to create a regional strategy to increase national and regional
benefits from key SWIO fisheries, and including multilateral cooperation on
cross-border marine resources, particularly migratory species.
IOC also will work to further
develop institutional arrangements involving government agencies and other
organisations to improve regional fisheries collaboration benefiting all SWIOFC
This will include developing
common regional Minimum Terms and Conditions for tuna fishing licenses to
increase coastal states’ financial benefits from their tuna resources.
In addition, as part of its
project remit IOC will assist efforts by Somalia to bring its maritime
boundaries and fisheries legislation into conformity with international law,
and support preparations for the country to participate in regional Monitoring,
Control and Surveillance of fisheries resources.
The SWIO region’s seafood exports
are worth about US$1.3 billion annually (not including South
Africa), according to the World Bank; of this sum half the
value is derived from tuna and shrimp.
Tuna fisheries are the most
important in terms of value, followed by shrimp and other crustaceans. Together
these fisheries exports account for a substantial portion of foreign exchange
earnings for many countries and territories in the region.
Fisheries play an important
economic role in SWIO coastal rural communities proving employment and income
to many people. An estimated 107 million people live within 100km of the
coastline in the various SWIO countries of which over one million are thought
to work in the fisheries sector, while many more are indirectly involved or
affected by the region’s fishing industry.
More than 45% of SWIO’s countries
fisheries workforce are women, according to the Bank, most of which are
involved in small-scale fisheries, including processing and marketing fishery
products, and in aquaculture.
Fisheries also are an important
source of nutrition for rural coastal communities in the region, particularly
those with the lowest incomes who rely on fish as a major source of animal
protein. According to the FAO, fish account for 50% of the animal protein
intake in Comoros and Seychelles,
26% in Mozambique and Tanzania,
and 20% in Madagascar and Mauritius.
The growing coastal population in
many East African countries and SWIO island nations is putting the region’s
marine resources under pressure. Consumption of fish among coastal communities
is mostly of low value species while high value seafood products generally are
According to SWIOFC, the most
commonly over-exploited fisheries are the near-shore high value species, such
as lobsters, sea cucumbers, shrimp, octopus, crap, snappers and groupers, both
in traditional and artisanal fisheries.
However, these fisheries also are
regarded as having the greatest potential for rapid improvement through
national and community-led co-management schemes. As many of the high value
species have short life spans of one to three years, yields are expected to
improve during the project period due to improved quality and greater local
value added processing, while improved resource management should reverse the
current level of over-exploitation.
Interestingly, the most recent
resource assessments by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) show that most
migratory tuna and tuna-like species are not overfished, apart from the South
West Indian Ocean swordfish, marlin, sailfish and Indian
Ocean albacore tuna.
IOTC data shows a steady decrease
in migratory species capture in the Western Indian Ocean
since 2006, which is partly attributable to piracy problems which have deterred
foreign fishing vessels from operating in the area following a number of widely
reported ransom hostage taking incidents by well-armed pirates.
Fisheries in the South West and Western
Indian Ocean regions already generate substantial earnings for
coast and island nations through foreign fishing agreements, licensing revenue
and some local value added processing WIO which were worth about US$250 million
several years ago.
Recent studies suggest SWIOFC
countries have considerable potential to increase their earnings from these
fisheries. As a result the World Bank project is designed to improve national
and regional fisheries reporting and management to increase the value of
coastal and offshore tuna fisheries through efforts including improved
enforcement and foreign vessel licensing agreements.
Coastal artisanal fishing
communities will be among the main beneficiaries of the project, in particular
those in Comoros, Mozambique
and Tanzania. These include
subsistence fisheries, households where fishing is an important source of
income, small-scale commercial fishermen, and fish and seaweed farmers.
The project also will target
fisheries producer and professional organisations, associations and community
level co-management institutions, proving developmental support so they can
increase their impact.
Regional, national and local
fisheries sector institutions will be assisted to improve their policy making
and public-private initiative coordination capability.
Private fisheries enterprises,
including those engaged in large-scale fishing and aquaculture, foreign-owned
fishing fleets, and overseas investors in fish farming and tuna processing also
are expected to benefit through SWIO countries’ improved management and
development of sustainable fisheries in coming years throughout the region.
Apart from the grant awarded to
the IOC, Mozambique has
been awarded project funding worth $37 million to develop sustainable fisheries
targeting various priority areas. Tanzania
will receive loans and grants amounting to $36 million to develop its fisheries
sector, while Comoros has
been allocated grants totalling $13 million to boost sustainable fisheries
Over the next six years all three
countries will work on various initiatives to improve the management and
performance of key fisheries. This will include targeting fisheries policies
and strategies, fisheries sector regulations and improving the work of fishery
Among targets the borrowing
countries have set is improving local knowledge of national fisheries resources
and developing human resources in government fishery organisations, along with
their institutional capacity to implement fisheries policies and management
Part of the approved project
funding will be used to increase the economic benefits from the three nations’
key fisheries including investment in fisheries processing and storage
Apart from efforts to increase
value added fisheries output through greater processing of export products,
funding also will be used to diversify fishermen’s livelihoods to curb over-fishing
and reduce pressure on over-exploited fishery stocks. In some locations funds
will be used to compensate fishermen for implementing restricted closed season
access to some over-fished grounds to help fish stocks recover to a sustainable
where about 850,000 households, or about 20% of the population, rely on
fisheries for part of their income, the Ministry of Fisheries will be the
executing agency for the project.
Many fishing communities in Mozambique
are small and isolated, with fishing and the sale of fish often going alongside
with farming activities. A large number of women are involved in fisheries,
with many collecting shellfish in intertidal areas while others are employed in
processing and marketing seafood products.
World Bank funding will assist
the ministry implement its long term Fisheries Master Plan 2010-2019 which
includes training staff and increasing its manpower resources to support
sustainable fisheries development at a community and on a national level.
The priority fisheries identified
for the project are: tuna, shrimp, demersal fish, deep water crustaceans and
small pelagic fish.
In addition, Mozambique
has been awarded a fisheries development grant worth US$25.7 million by the
French Development Fund which will be used finance fisheries infrastructure
development to complement the World Bank programme.
The Ministry of Fisheries is
expected to use French aid to rehabilitate several state-run fishing ports
under its control and construct aquaculture ponds; also, to buy a fisheries
research vessel to survey the nation’s territorial waters.
French funding will also be used
to enhance the ministry’s Monitoring, Control and Surveillance capability and
to purchase FADS devices to help coastal fishermen increase their catch of tuna
and other migratory fish.
Targeted at increasing food
security as its main priority, Mozambique’s
Fisheries Master Plan also aims to develop income from fisheries to reduce
poverty and to improve the nation’s balance of payments.
Developing shrimp production,
small scale fisheries and aquaculture are the key elements of the plan which
will require more highly trained staff to run the ministry’s various fishery,
research and other institutions along with its administrative divisions.
Fish is a key part of the Mozambique
diet. However, fisheries supplies are insufficient to meet current demand which
has led to an increase in imports.
Targets for 2019 include
achieving a 3kg per capita increase in fish consumption to reach 11kg annually
from 8kg previously and a net increase of US$100 million annually in foreign
exchange earnings from fishery exports. The ministry also aims to achieve a
huge 100,000 tons per year increase in large and small scale fisheries
While small and medium
enterprises are showing increased interest in establishing semi-industrial
fisheries for snapper, tuna, swordfish and other high value species, the
fisheries sector also faces a number of threats.
Weak management of important
shrimp fisheries coupled with rising fuel prices and lower demand for high
value shrimp has caused a dip in the sector’s performance in recent years.
In addition, the number of
artisanal fishermen involved in marine fisheries doubled from 2002 to 2007 which
could lead eventually to over-fishing unless coastal marine resources are
Tanzania, to the north of Mozambique,
is the largest country in East Africa with an
EEZ of 223,000 sq km and a 17,900km coastline.
Two ministries are responsible
for fisheries in the United Republic of Tanzania which is administered by a
two-government system, namely the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania
and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar.
Small scale fisheries currently
account for about 98% of total fishery production and almost 10% of fish
exports that are worth almost US$150 million annually, most being fresh water
fish from the country’s lakes.
Although accounting for just 1.3%
of GDP, fisheries is of major importance for income, employment and food
security, and plays a major economic role in country’s coastal communities.
Tuna, octopus, shrimp, reef fish,
small pelagic fish and mariculture are Tanzania’s
priority fisheries. However, as fisheries are not considered a Union matter,
mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar
manage their fisheries separately.
The Ministry of Livestock
Development and Fisheries is responsible for the mainland and is the
implementing agency for the World Bank project there, while on Zanzibar
the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock will oversee its part of the project.
In addition, the Deep Sea Fishing
Authority is responsible for fisheries in the country’s EEZ waters, including
issuing fishing licenses to foreign vessels.
Fisheries development faces a
number of constraints which the two fisheries ministries will use consultancy
and technical support to try and tackle in their separate areas during the
The current relatively weak legal
and institutional framework within which fisheries operate together with
manpower limitations and a lack of detailed knowledge about the state of the
nation’s fisheries will need to be rectified for the sector to develop its full
Small scale fisheries lack
adequate infrastructure including insufficient processing, storage and
transport facilities. Both ministries are looking to attract increased
investment in future to overcome present limitations and expand the small scale
fisheries contribution to coastal communities’ future development.
Comoros, meanwhile, has targeted tuna,
demersal fish, lobster and sea cucumber as its priority fisheries. Established
as a Union of three islands, Comoros
has a large EEZ covering about 160,000 sq km that straddles important tuna
fishing grounds at the mouth of the Mozambique Channel.
As the domestic fishing fleet
lacks the capacity to operate offshore, most fishing in Comoros’
waters are by licensed foreign vessels generating substantial income for the
Currently about 30% of the Comoros'
140,000 population are reliant on the fishery sector while about 6% are
directly employed in fisheries. Per capita fish consumption is about 29kg a
year, almost all supplied from the domestic catch.
The National Directorate for
Fisheries’ under the Ministry of Production, Environment, Energy, Industry and
Craft has launched the Comoros’ Fisheries Development Strategy which aims
reduce poverty among the most disadvantaged fishing households by developing
sustainable fish production and processing.
Although the Comoros
currently lacks adequate fisheries infrastructure including fishing port
facilities, processing and other resources to develop a large scale fishing
industry, government commitment and the islands’ potential for future increases
in production mean that World Bank project funding will help ensure the strong
development of small scale fisheries sector in future.