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Fisheries: FAO Wants Pro-Poor Policy Criteria

Fisheries: FAO Wants Pro-Poor Criteria For Designing Policies In Developing Nations


Akanimo Sampson
Port Harcourt, Nigeria

The improvement of the livelihoods of coastal communities and the sustainability of the fishery resources on which they depend require increased attention, strong commitment and collective efforts, according to Ichiro Nomura, Assistant Director-General, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

When designing policies and strategies for small-scale fisheries management in developing countries, pro-poor criteria and principles need to be used, he added.

Nomura was delivering the Keynote Address at the Inaugural Session of the Workshop on "Asserting Rights, Defining Responsibilities: Perspectives from Small-scale Fishing Communities on Coastal and Fisheries Management in Asia" organized by the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) at Siem Reap, Cambodia.

If management of single-species fisheries in Northern and sub-tropical waters is considered difficult, the task is even more daunting for the multi-species and multi-gear fisheries of the tropics, he said.

Pointing to the growing trend towards more decentralization in fisheries management and the success of co-management systems in some areas, Nomura said that the topic of allocation of access and benefits is at the heart of all efforts to manage fisheries.

Small-scale fishers should be given preferential access to fishery resources, Nomura added. "As a pro-poor policy, a redistribution of access from the industrial fleets to small-scale fishers should be considered. This should be combined with improved protection of inshore areas, some of which have already been made exclusive to artisanal fisheries", he said

The goal of responsible and equitable small-scale fisheries calls for a combination of decentralization of management responsibilities; a rights-based approach to fisheries management that meets social objectives; and strong support to social development and poverty alleviation, Nomura concluded.

The three-day workshop for fishworker and non-governmental organizations , researchers and activists from the Asian region, which began today, will be followed by a two-day symposium to which policymakers and representatives of regional and international organizations have been invited.

Around 60 participants from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam are attending the workshop and symposium.

ENDS

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