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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A plea from our African cousins - artisanal fishers demand a voice and action to preserve their way of life

In this World Women's Day on 8 March 2014 after two days of discussions,

We, representatives of the African Confederation of Organisations in Artisanal Fisheries - CAOPA-,

On behalf of our professional organizations Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Morocco, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Cape Verde and Côte d'Ivoire, welcomes us,

Particularly on behalf of women in these organizations, and communities that depend on fishing for their livelihood, Solemnly call on the Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture of all African countries, Which will meet from 14 to 18 March 2014 in Uganda at the second Conference of African Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture - the CAMFA-, To take into account our concerns and proposals when deciding the future of our industry by voting the Pan-African strategy to reform EU fisheries policy and aquaculture.

We believe:

• That there are limits to order regulatory developments in the legal arsenal of fisheries in our country, including with regard to artisanal fisheries in order to ensure sustainable management of our fisheries for the benefit of coastal communities and populations;

• That we must find ways to limit fishing capacity in fisheries where access is free;

• That there is good reason to suspect that illegal fishing is growing in many African countries and the difficulties to combat, both in ways that policy will remain immense.

• That the African artisanal fishing shows more capacity, if it is supported appropriately, to be an engine of social, economic and environmental development.

• Let the professionals working in the artisanal fishing, and women in particular, are not sufficiently informed (s) consulted (s) involved and (e) s in the process of decision-making that directly affect , whether national, regional or pan-African level. 

We are concerned:

• The increasing vulnerability of women in artisanal fishing communities, which does not allow them to fully play their role in contributing to food security, through the processing and marketing of fishery products, and fulfill their responsibilities for the well-being of families and children's education.

- If women and our communities are vulnerable is that fish become scarcer and more expensive and the cost of fishing operations is increasing;

- One of the main reasons for this is the trend in recent decades to the intensification of fishing in many African countries by foreign flag vessels or foreign re-pavillonnés, charter, or fishing illegally, and increasing export of fish away from our continent, while the needs of African countries in protein and nutrients from the fish are growing, given the increase in our population.

- If any part of these foreign vessels fishing under formal agreements, a large number of fishing vessels appear in opaque conditions without respecting the laws in force in African waters - including legislation to protect the area artisanal fishing - using very little selective and destructive methods.

Foreign vessels are not the only cause of the pressure on fish stocks in African waters, it also assists the uncontrolled growth of artisanal fisheries in many African countries.

• As soon as the fish become less abundant due to overexploitation, the tendency of local fishermen in some countries is to use desperate measures to maintain the level of catches, such as the use of very small stitches, or worse dynamite . We call our Ministers for Fisheries and Aquaculture in the context of the reform strategy in African fisheries

To improve governance for a more transparent and participatory fisheries management

promoting with their respective states, the signing of the Aarhus Convention on public access to environmental information;

committing to make regular information on fishing licenses granted and contracts and agreements,

• by establishing commissions licensing work seamlessly and independent actors including representatives of artisanal fisheries;

• by conducting independent audits of the effectiveness of fisheries administrations;

• considering the organizations representing democratically professionals artisanal fishing activity as their interlocutors;

developing with them a dynamic partnership, including permanent consultation mechanisms with the women and men of artisanal and civil society, based on:

- the recognition of capabilities, knowledge and knowledge communities artisanal fisheries initiatives to build management and conservation of resources

- the ability of the state to share its power and responsibilities for management and conservation, to define a policy framework for fisheries management , to provide an effective legislation; to ensure its effective implementation, to provide various types of assistance to communities (means of implementation, scientific, control, awareness, etc..)

o in particular, the establishment transparent participatory monitoring devices in each country, as part of the dynamics of co-management should be supported (legal recognition of stakeholders, premium incentives, provision of means of communication, exchange visits, training committees management)

• giving, in these approaches, special attention for women communities are equally represented (50%) in the consultation for decision making and in the planning and implementation of those decisions;

empowering artisanal fishing communities in the integrated management of their land adjacent marine ecosystems, through a negotiated agreement between the users (through their organization), and responsible for fisheries, which defines the objectives of management authority, the rights and obligations of both parties, duly approved by the competent local authorities;

encouraging active groups of the civil society and the media to denounce some do not comply with regulatory practices and ethics in this context, freedom of the press must be complete;

• when criminal activities are identified, with penalties and sanctions that are of sufficient severity and receive wide dissemination in the media.

stimulating cooperation between different jurisdictions within the same state, and among African States to: - fight against illegal fishing - manage, collaboratively shared resources; - improving and harmonizing legal frameworks and regulations in a manner that recognizes the local co-management initiatives;

To give priority access to resources for sustainable artisanal fisheries

- Reserving exclusively for artisanal fishermen resources they have the ability to fish sustainably;

- Reserving the coastal zone and the continental shelf artisanal fisheries in the clearly defined in legislation, and protecting effectively against the incursions of trawlers;

- Recognizing the rights of access of artisanal fishing communities in legislation and management measures for fisheries resources;

- Refusing to privatize and organize a market for resource access rights, as suggested in the reform strategy, as these systems allow those who have the capital to capture fisheries resources artisanal fisheries depends to live, causing our misery and poverty communities;

- Adopting at the next Committee on Fisheries of the FAO in June, and implementing as soon as possible, the International Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Artisanal Fisheries of FAO, to preserve livelihoods local populations to ensure their food security, economic survival and the preservation of their cultures

- Implementing a "restorative" eco-management systems using devices of artificial reefs and marine protected areas;

- Promoting the use of new technologies throughout the value chain, better management and use of resources;

- Fighting against the complacency pavillonnement

To implement the right to food, and to ensure the contribution of fisheries to the realization of this right

- Encouraging their governments to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the result, in particular as regards the right to food in their constitutions and national legislation;

- putting in place a process that Pan citizens can use to compel governments to respect the right to food and the laws relating thereto - Concerning the promotion of aquaculture, which is an important element in the strategy proposed reform of fisheries policy Africa to increase fish production, we call for:

- Restrict the development of aquaculture in non-carnivorous species, which do not depend on the fish meal produced from our small pelagic need to book direct human consumption

- Encourage small-scale aquaculture, through the establishment of a national agency for aquaculture development;

- Encourage the agency through private investment in the sustainable aquaculture through programs for capacity building, awareness raising, with financial and technical support, while ensuring integrated coastal populations in this dynamic so that they benefit.

We hope that our voices will be heard by our Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and we wish them a fruitful discussion for the adoption of a strategy to reform the African fisheries that recognizes and protects the rights of our communities to develop a sustainable African fisheries.