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Madagascar to Develop Fisheries Strategy

08 March 2012, at 12:00am

MADAGASCAR - Madagascar is leading the way of Indian Ocean countries by developing a national policy on marine fisheries which takes into account the principles of good governance.

A strategy is expected to be put together between February and April this year.

Inititially consultations will take place between the government and the private sector.

"The idea is to bring a fresh perspective on how management could be addressed within the sector using a planning method based on the application of different principles of good governance such as transparency and participation," said Christophe Breuil, an international SmartFish expert who brings the technical contribution to the Malagasy government.

"Participation could allow, for example, that key stakeholders are involved at different stages of development and implementation of policy in a partnership," he continues.

The Strategy aims to enable a major optimal use of malagasy fish wealth, guide public policy development and fisheries management and guide reforms for better governance among the fisheries sector over a period of five years.

Four commissions have been established to support the process of developing this strategy. The first commission will analyse the maritime fisheries system, a second will evaluate the current and potential role of sea fishing in the current economy if industry was better managed, a third will examine the functions and services sector management such as monitoring, research, information systems and the fourth committee will focus on legal aspects, including the review of a new version of the bill (whose first version dates from 2006) and the application of sanctions. This last committee will be chaired by the representative of an NGO platform which includes WWF, Blue Ventures and WCS.

"It’s a win win situation," says Dominique Gréboval, the SmartFish team leader. "We hope to increase the industry's revenue, increase trade, improve income for fishermen and provide high quality food for consuemrs."

A qualitative study was conducted in 2011 to analyse the situation of the governance of marine fisheries sector in the sub-region (Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean). This study found that despite efforts by the countries of the subregion, the challenges are still numerous in some areas, including: statistical systems to know the exact quantities of fish caught each year, fisheries surveillance and capacity building of socio-professional organisations of fishing.

The southwestern Indian Ocean is a maritime area of more than twice that of the Mediterranean Sea. The fisheries sector is a major contributor to national economies. In 2010, FAO reported that fish consumption reached a record average of nearly 17 kg per capita. Moreover, fish provides at least 15 per cent of the daily animal protein more than three billion people on the planet, and 97 per cent of the world's fishers live in developing countries.

The Smartfish Programme is funded by the European Union and is an initiative of the Indian Ocean Commission which operates in 18 countries in the region of sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean islands.

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