Fisheries Management Plan III (FMP III) for Lake Victoria fisheries launched in Arusha
The Lake Victoria Fisheries Management Plan III (FMP III) 2016 – 2020 whose goal is: “Recovery of biomass of Nile perch with Sustainable utilisation of fisheries resources of Lake Victoria basin with equitable opportunities and benefits”, was yesterday launched at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania on 28th June 2016.
The FMP III is expected to guide the sustainable management of the fisheries resources and thus contribute to poverty alleviation and improvement of livelihoods, in line with the EAC Vision and Strategy Framework for Management and Development of the Lake Victoria basin; “a prosperous population, living in a healthy and sustainably managed environment providing equitable opportunities and benefits”.
Gracing the event as the Guest of Honour was Dr. Yohana Budeba; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Tanzania, who launched the FMP III. In his remarks, he welcomed the fisheries stakeholders present at the meeting to the venue. He began by emphasising the value of fisheries as a resource within the EAC region, adding that it provides massive opportunities because it is a source of income, it creates employment opportunities in both industrial and artisanal processing, it is a source of food rich in omega III, iron, zinc and calcium which can go a long way in addressing malnutrition and stunted growth in children and it also attracts foreign exchange from exports to more than 20 countries internationally.
Also present at the launch was the Executive Secretary for Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation; Godfrey Monor who reported that there are several challenges that the Lake Victoria Fisheries is faced with which FMP III aims to address. These include: increased fishing pressure as a result of increasing demand and rising prices of fish and fisheries products; inadequate and unsustainable funding to implement research and agreed management interventions; increased illegalities due to weak enforcement; inadequate infrastructure for fish quality and safety, under developed aquaculture to meet the demand of fish and relieve fishing pressure from capture fishery, and other challenges caused by climate change. “In order to curtail the decline of natural resources within and around the Lake, the commitment from the Partner States should be translated to action for sustainability of our fisheries resources”.
On behalf of Hon. Jesca Eriyo; the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, the Senior Livestock and Fisheries Officer; Timothy Wesonga affirmed that the FMP III was developed in a consultative manner in which key stakeholders were consulted and involved. Therefore, there was a reckonable sense of ownership and participation in the development of the FMP III. “The FMP III is amongst a number of instruments developed by EAC to direct the management of fisheries resources in Lake Victoria. Other EAC fisheries instruments that have been developed include the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures, the Aquaculture Strategy, FMP I and II and the upcoming Fisheries and aquaculture Sector Policy which is being developed to guide the sector for better management. “Now that we have a number of instruments in place, efforts should be concerted towards implementing these instruments.”
In a bid to support this, he urged that the national governments involved in the Lake Victoria fisheries resource management process to mainstream their collaborative approach by factoring in strategic investments for this purpose in their national budgets in the next financial year.” Mr. Wesonga also appreciated the efforts of the Task Force in developing the FMP III document and proposed that they should explore avenues for mobilisation of funds to support implementation of the FMP III.
The FMP III aims to address emerging issues in the Lake Victoria fisheries with focus on: introduction of user rights in the management of Lake Victoria; introduction of a domesticated Fishing Craft Management System (FCMS) for Lake Victoria waters; introduction of fisheries and aquaculture incubation enterprises; demand driven research; use of Information Technology to better manage the fisheries resources and regular economic evaluation of fisheries resources.
In his closing remarks, the Permanent Secretary encouraged close collaboration between LVFO and LVBC in addressing the issues around Lake Victoria and fisheries resources, highlighting the dependence of fish on water as their natural habitat. Dr. Yohana also called upon the Directors of Fisheries management and Research to strengthen linkages with the Devolved/Decentralised Governments in implementing the FMP III.
He concluded by appreciating the support from Lake Victoria Environment Management Project Phase II (LVEMP II), funded by the World Bank. He also commended members from the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), Partner States representatives from the Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministries, the Beach Management Unit stakeholders, Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), the LVBC Executive Secretary Dr. Ali Said Matano and the EAC Secretariat, all present at the launch for their efforts and participation.