Regional Report Outline on Aquaculture Development for West Africa.
March 1, 2021
Menyoli Emmanuel Molua (Cameroon). Dr Toundji Oliver Amoussou (Bukina Fasso).
Policies and regulations structured to manage small and large scale aquaculture projects in West Africa like in most parts of the continent are not achieving the expected results because they are often imposed and not negotiated with the relevant stakeholders. Stakeholders who know the real problems faced in the industry are often neglected during policy formulation often because of their status in society, age, or sex. Also, some country practises a top-down administrative approach where all decisions are made by the central government with little input from the masses. Thus; the following policy gaps exist in the industry preventing growth in the industry in the short and long term bases;
1) Policies and laws developed to manage aquaculture projects does not regulate all aspects of the entire value chain. 2) Management regulations are often neglected and hardly reviewed; they are therefore not consistent with the demands of a constantly changing industry. 3) In most areas, especially in French-speaking countries, decrees are used instead of laws to control human actions and farmer’s behaviour. 4) The environment which is part of the production capital is not protected by aquaculture laws. 5) Enforcement of aquaculture regulations is largely prescriptive. No incentives from government officials to teach or educate farmers about aquaculture regulations. 6) Long term office tenures for politicians have caused slow change in policy perspectives. 7) Lack of research funding and new innovative technology has made old culture methods still in use today further slowing down aquaculture development. 8) Lack of Specialised Professionals in fisheries laws is a major challenge. Fisheries laws are not taught in most aquaculture and Fisheries schools and lawyers are often not interested in specialising in fisheries laws. 9) Discrimination-qualified applicants for positions in the industry are sidelined for candidates with strong political connection. 10) Aquaculture regulations, where they exist are sometimes difficult to interpret by the relevant stakeholders. 11) Lack of specialized courts to try aquaculture offences. 12) Unwillingness from some farmers to adopt new, cost-effective and environmentally friendly culture methods which often guarantee better output is an issue. 13) Weak institutions- as a result, enforcement of aquaculture regulations is difficult. 14) Illiteracy-difficulty for some farmers to interpret aquaculture regulations. 15) Tradition and customs in the African society-the opinions of women and children are often not considered in stakeholder meetings and workshops, making it difficult for the government to clearly capture the real problems faced in the industry. 16) Poor use of international aquaculture laws and guidelines due to their lengthiness, number and complexity.
1b) Objective. To review the aquaculture policies, management objectives and approaches to identify the main social, political, economic and biological barriers causing the huge policy gaps mentioned above. We will recommend solutions for best practise following the guidelines and recommendations provided by the regional and global hard and soft copy laws, treaties and guidelines.
1c) Methodology. In brief, we will start by reviewing all the relevant treaties and guidelines to identify best practise in aquaculture development. Later, we will critically examine the reports from country consultants to determine the challenges and successes of fish farming from their individual countries. We will collect information from published authors who have written on the theme and also from the grey and unpublished literature. We will provide recommendations based on our review of the relevant treaties, protocols and guidelines from relevant global institutions. The procedure to analyse these treaties will be by interpreting the ordinary meaning of the words as used in the treaties. We will search for materials from authoritative sources using keywords and phrases such as “aquaculture development in West Africa” etc.
1d) Treaty review and guidelines. We will review the following treaties to keep abreast with the current standards. 1) The 1991 Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and all its protocols. 2) Agenda 21. 3) The United Nations Law of the Sea Convention and others and others. 4) We will review guidelines from the regional and global organizations such as (Hishanunda et al. 2014) from the FAO which discusses the key principles responsible for policy development and governance in aquaculture management and more.
1f) Solutions and recommendations. The solutions we shall offer shall emanate from the recommendations from treaties, guidelines, reports and from scientific papers. We are mindful that, these recommendations will serve as a blueprint because member states have different needs and characteristics. What works for one member states may not work for the others. However, the Society is ready to help member states tailor these recommendations to fit their particular circumstances.
1g) Conclusion. A review of the main items of the report.
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