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Small-Scale African Fisheries Evaluated in World Bank Study

Environment Politics

GLOBAL - The World Bank has published the results of a study carried out among nine African fisheries in six African countries (including Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Senegal, and Sierra Leone).

The aim of the study was to improve the understanding of the characteristics of small-scale fisheries in the selected countries as well as to shed light on their environmental, economic, and social impacts.

The World Bank study approached the role and importance of small-scale fisheries (SSF) in a comprehensive manner by examining their contribution to economic development, social livelihood and food security. These contributions were evaluated using a common tool, the Fishery Performance Indicators (FPIs).

By examining the qualitative results of FPIs, the researchers analysed the status of small-scale and semi-industrial fisheries, ranging from inland to marine and single to multi-species in case studies from East to West Africa.

Notably, social variables, which are often left out of such research, were included as well. These were aspects such as community cooperation, social cohesion, leadership, and the rights and role of women in fisheries.

The synthesis report outlines the existence of significant gaps in the selected African SSFs in terms of their output performances. The report also underlines that:

  • Ecological variables are not suitable proxies for economic welfare or community well-being, demonstrating the necessity of collecting data on economic and social variables in future studies.

  • Access and harvest rights appear to be positively correlated with ecological and economic sustainability, pointing to the importance of access rights agreements as an area of enforcement and development.

  • Improvements in infrastructure should be coupled with strengthening tenure to enhance the efficiency of fishery value chains.