More than 100 delegates from governments, NGOs, international organizations, research organizations and the private sector attended the event, chaired by Dr Motseki Hlatshwayo, Technical Advisor-Fisheries, SADC Secretariat.
Speaking at the lauch, Dr Siphokazi Ndudane, Deputy Director General, Department: Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), South Africa said: “The fact that FISH is being launched here in Cape Town underlines the importance of the program to Africa and it underlines the importance of fisheries and aquaculture for Africa. Agricultural growth cannot be achieved without a strong research investment, and evidence base. And with FISH we have a new research program that will focus on what remains a huge opportunity for the whole of Africa.”
Also speaking at the launch, Chair of the WorldFish Board of Trustees Dr Yvonne Pinto, added: “Without securing fish production and availability – to address rising global demand, overfishing, the effects of climate change, population growth and habitat destruction - it is difficult to see how we can deliver on all of our collective commitments to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
She also noted: “Depleted capture fisheries cannot cope with the demand for more fish and so sustainable aquaculture must. This is a challenge for the entire industry and so this World Aquaculture event is the most appropriate place to launch the FISH program and progress our collective efforts to address this important challenge.”
Dr Hamady Diop, Head of the Natural Resources Governance – Food Security and Nutrition Programme at the NEPAD Agency, reflected: “President Alpha Condé has agreed to represent the NEPAD Agency as the Champion for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa. This is an important high-level acknowledgement of fish as a good alternative to other animal proteins. The sustainable development of aquaculture development presents an opportunity to contribute to food security, job creation and the fight against poverty.”
FISH will focus on the three interlinked challenges of sustainable aquaculture, small-scale fisheries, and enhancing the contribution of fish to nutrition and health of the poor in priority geographies of Africa and Asia-Pacific.