Calling fisheries critical for nourishing the poor and for helping Africa cope with the health, economic and social devastation of problems like HIV and AIDS, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the WorldFish Center and partners are making an urgent appeal to boost the continent's fish production and strengthen the contribution of fisheries to economic growth and food security.
Experts and political leaders from 26 African countries are convening for the NEPAD-Fish for All Summit in Abuja, Nigeria Aug. 22-25 amid warnings of a fish production crisis in Africa ?the only world region where per capita fish supplies are dropping.
Analyses prepared for the Summit by the WorldFish Center, a global development and science organization, warn exploitation of natural fish stocks is leveling off as the population steadily grows. African countries face a major challenge to ensure fish supply to the estimated 200 million mainly poor people relying on fish as a main part of their diet. Also at stake are the livelihoods of more than 10 million African families involved in small-scale fisheries and fish.
However aquaculture, just emerging in Africa, offers new opportunities for farmers and small-scale enterprises, WorldFish says. Africa has massive untapped aquaculture potential that can yield affordable protein and nutrient-rich food together with jobs and economic opportunities.
The NEPAD-Fish for All Summit, organized in cooperation with the WorldFish Center and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), will highlight the urgent need for fisheries investment to address a suite of problems and to help meet the UN Millennium Development Goals in Africa.
Hosted by Nigerian President HE Olusegun Obasanjo, expected participants include Ghanaian President John Kufuor, other heads of state and senior ministers, WorldFish Center D