A meeting in Africa to assess the implementation of fishers’ rights

fishers rights

April 12, 2024

On March 11th, 2024, a pivotal four-day workshop on fishers’ rights commenced in Mbour, Senegal, organized by the World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP), World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers (WFF), AWFishnet, IPAAC, and Roppa, in collaboration with Centro Internazionale Crocevia. This gathering, co-organised by FENAGIE Peche, a Fisheries Association based in Senegal, convened 12 representatives from 8 African nations (Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Ghana, DRC, Uganda, Botswana, South Africa) as part of the African Regional Assessment for implementing the FAO Small-scale Fisheries Voluntary Guidelines.

Representing the culmination of this regional assessment process initiated in August 2023, participants, along with Ms. Savita Vijaykumar, the consultant consolidating the report and regional allies, convened to review the main findings of the African Regional Report and collectively outline key recommendations and future steps.

To inaugurate the workshop, participants visited a local association of women ostrich farmers and mangrove product processors in Joal Fadiouth. This women-led association engages in various activities related to oyster cultivation and mangrove product processing, showcasing the importance of economic diversification and financial empowerment for its members. The group subsequently visited another women’s collective renowned for producing Salted Millet Couscous, on Fadiouth Island, a distinguished Slow Food presidium. This visit sparked discussions on the role of alternative income-generating activities in supporting artisanal fishing communities amidst income fluctuations due to external factors like climate change and fishing bans.

Discussions throughout the workshop extensively covered key sections of the SSF Guidelines pertinent to the assessment. Attendees provided additional insights based on assessment questionnaires, fostering open dialogue and exchanges that underscored commonalities and differences among countries. These discussions corroborated the preliminary findings of the report, revealing challenges such as inadequate tenure rights recognition, insufficient infrastructure for post-harvest activities, and marginalization of SSF perspectives in decision-making processes.

By workshop’s end, the robust exchanges and dialogue among attendees bolstered solidarity and unity, laying the foundation for defining a new strategy and work plan for the Regional Advisory Group Africa.