Small scale marine fisheries Africa, Sierra Leone

Improving Regional Trade

Nile perch tours, Lake Turkana, Kenya, Africa

Fisheries are one of the most significant renewable resources that Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) and Indian Ocean (IO) countries have for food security, livelihoods and economic growth. Efforts however, need to be made to ensure that as the population in these countries grows, and demand for food and employment likewise grows, the benefits that fishery resources provide, are protected through sustainable management and value-addition.

The IOC-led SmartFish Program was launched in February 2011 with the aim of contributing to an increased level of social, economic and environmental development and regional integration in the ESA-IO region through the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources.

In terms of trade, the traditional focus on large international trading blocks and fostering trade from Africa to these blocks, has meant less attention has been paid to unlocking the potential of regional trade. Some of the most pressing issues facing regional fisheries trade relate to trade barriers. Non-tariff barriers include challenges with export licensing, logistics and poor infrastructure which reduce competitiveness. Improving quality and sanitation issues is critical to improving marketing opportunities regionally as quality standards are becoming an important requirement for trading fish across borders.

Working with local counterparts we designed and undertook a training needs assessment (TNA) across several countries to identify capacity building activities as well as design and implement a first phase of regional training initiatives related to hygiene and sanitation standards and improved fish quality. This led to the:

  • Development of a training of trainers manual;
  • Design and delivery of 7 training of trainers workshops for nearly 200 trainers in improved fish handling for regional trade;
  • Development of a border fish inspectors guide;
  • Design and delivery of 2 regional capacity building workshops for 50 fishery inspectors from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania,  Zambia, Zimbabwe,  Malawi and the DRC.
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