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Aid boost for aquaculture and fishing in Tsunami-hit communities

Jakarta - The American Red Cross and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have launched a new partnership to support the recovery of fishing communities in Indonesia's Tsunami-hit Province, Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam.

The initiative comes in response to a breakthrough meeting held in Banda Aceh in March, when 100 fishermen, aquaculturalists and officials, from tsunami-affected districts, discussed local needs and plans for a more prosperous and sustainable future.

The US$7.5 million project will help promote the responsible and sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture that are a lifeline of many coastal communities. More effective management of these vitally important food production sectors is needed to avoid over fishing and prevent further damage to recovering coastal ecosystems.

The American Red Cross is providing financial support while FAO will take the lead in implementing the three-year project. The UN agency will provide technical and planning assistance and conduct training activities aimed at improving the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture for the people of Aceh.

Significant impact

"We are excited to be working in partnership with FAO on a project that will have a significant impact in restoring these communities," said Gerald Anderson, Senior Director of the Tsunami Recovery Program for the American Red Cross. "This project will provide people with essential needs—like food and income and will also help them to develop the capacity to manage fisheries for the long-term."

The project will also help national and local authorities along local people living and working in these communities. Approximately 750 Indonesian government officials at the national and provincial levels and around 4,000 people in fishing and fish farming communities will be involved. Indirectly, the project will benefit a further 770,000 people by providing food and increased economic opportunities.

Long term

By focusing on longer-term planning, good management, improved post-harvest fish handling and better marketing practices, the project will address concerns that existed before the 2004 tsunami struck the region. Problems were exacerbated by the disaster and the scale of reconstruction activity that followed.

"These capacity-building measures seek to foster sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture in Aceh after the tsunami, and to ensure the future well-being of the thousands of people who depend on them," explained Ichiro Nomura, Assistant Director-General of FAO's Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.

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