OSLO, Norway, October 23, 2019 (CMC) – African, Caribbean and Pacific countries are expected to benefit from an Euro 40 million agreement, signed here, today, between the European Union (EU), the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The five-year program, titled FISH4ACP, is intended to boost the development of sustainable fisheries and aqua-culture in ACP regions.
FISH4ACP, an innovative EU-funded program, will invest in value chains to stimulate inclusive growth, bolster food security and minimise impacts on the marine environment
The signing of the agreement took place on the side-lines of the “Our Ocean 2019” conference that has brought together representatives from governments, business, civil society and research institutions, to promote action for a clean, healthy and productive ocean.
“Within the ACP countries, there is a sense of urgency to boost our fisheries and aquaculture sectors, because they greatly contribute to economic growth, decent jobs and food and nutrition security,” ACP Secretary General, Dr. Patrick I. Gomes, said at the signing ceremony.
“We are happy to have our partners on board and launch this much-needed initiative, which will unlock the potential of fisheries and aquaculture in ACP regions,” explained the Guyana-born ACP Secretary General.
The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, in welcoming the new initiative, said the focus on all three aspects of sustainability, namely economic, environmental and social, sets the new program apart.
“It will enable us to strike a balance, between production and protection, to contribute towards fair income distribution; to promote decent working conditions, sound fisheries management and social inclusiveness; and to champion sustainable aquaculture practices,” Vella claimed.
FAO Director-General, Qu Dongyu, said his organisation welcomes “this new comprehensive value chain approach to the development of fisheries and aquaculture that takes into account all players, at all stages, from net to plate.
“This is an innovative approach that will boost economic returns and social equity, and reduce negative impacts on the marine environment,” he added.
FISH4ACP will work with 10 value chains in 10 different ACP countries, aiming to maximise their economic returns and social benefits, while minimising the detrimental effects on natural habitats and marine wildlife. It will pay special attention to small-scale fisheries, because of their potential to deliver economic and social benefits, particularly for women.
In the Caribbean, FISH4ACP will concentrate on stocks of mahi-mahi and seabob shrimp in the Dominican Republic and Guyana, respectively; while in Africa, the program will support both aquaculture and fisheries value chains. In the Pacific, it will focus on tuna fisheries, around the Marshall Islands, a sector with high potential for both European and American markets.
“Over the next five years, FISH4ACP will be yielding multiple environmental, economic and social benefits for the people and the fisheries resources in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, contributing to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and, in particular, Sustainable Development Goal 14 on conservation and sustainable use of the ocean, seas and marine resources.
According to an official statement, released here: “FISH4ACP is set to kick off in early 2020, with value chain assessments, aimed at pinpointing the main challenges in each of the value chains and helping them explore new markets, reduce waste and losses, improve fishers’ working conditions and manage fish stocks at sustainable levels.”