Key African export commodity at risk as fish stocks drop

2010-09-24 07:26

Banjul – Africa’s dwindling fish stocks as a result of over-exploitation and illegal fishing may hinder efforts to develop an industry that employs some 10 million Africans, a conference in Banjul, Gambia heard yesterday.

Gambian Fisheries Minister Lamin Kaba Bajo opened a meeting of his counterparts from across the continent on Wednesday on the fourth day of a conference looking at ways to sustainably grow Africa’s fisheries sector.

He said despite fish being Africa’s leading export commodity, “the benefits are still at risk as the exploitation of natural fish stocks are reaching their catch limits”.

Addressing the meeting, Food and Agricultural Organisation representative Babagana Ahmadu said the fact that 10 million Africans earn a living from the fishing industry proved its importance to economies.

“The per capita fish supplies against increasing demands are dropping, and the increase in illegal marine fisheries by foreign ships is on the increase, threatening the livelihood of millions in Africa,” he said.

“Unless we devise ways and strategies to tackle these problems, the continent will continue to lose billions of dollars.

He said while fishing could potentially contribute about 6% of the continent’s annual economic growth, “Africa yet has a low capacity to deal with this challenge because of a shortage of ... technology, skills, economic resources ...”

Maxwell Davies from the FAO told AFP on the sidelines of the conference that the continent’s fisheries sector was key “to meeting the food and nutrition security needs of millions of Africans”.

He said the fisheries industry had an annual export value of $2.7 billion.

Abdoulie Cham, principal fisheries adviser at Gambia’s fisheries ministry said the continent’s fish production was estimated at $4.3 billion, providing 8% of the global fisheries trade.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.