Call to Action outlines vision for aquaculture development in Africa

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By Milthon Lujan

Key regional players have joined with WorldFish and the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems (FISH) to endorse a vision for inclusive and sustainable aquaculture to underpin the overarching aims of human development, food and nutrition security on the African continent.

In line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the Cape Town Call to Action acknowledges development initiatives and progress so far while proposing concrete actions to engender greater collaboration and evidence-based guidance that takes into account recent innovations that will shape aquaculture development with proven pro-poor benefits, especially in terms of nutrition, employment and income generation.

The document is a result of deliberations that took place at the African Aquaculture Policy day held during the World Aquaculture conference, 26–30 June 2017.

The three page Call to Action includes proposals for regional collaboration on research and development with the establishment of centers of excellence, investments in capacity building and the dissemination of best management practices for profitable, productive, environmentally-sustainable and nutrition sensitive aquaculture.

Michael Phillips, Director of Science and Aquaculture, WorldFish and Program Director FISH: “Recent years have seen increased growth in aquaculture but the full potential is yet to be realized. A continent wide agreement on ways forward will help to consolidate resources, share lessons learned and allow all nations to create the incentives and infrastructure that investors need to meet growing need and demand for fish.”

Policy guidance is a key theme with evidence-based research expected to support policy-makers to effectively undertake policy and governance reforms. The vision notes a need to make policies understandable and accessible to those farming communities to which they will apply and to take into the conservation of aquatic biodiversity.

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Improvements in farmer access to quality fish seed, better fish feeds and a regional animal health strategy to coordinate disease response and measures are seen as important elements for sustainable aquaculture.

This new continent-wide vision is timely for the newly launched CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems (FISH), opening new opportunities for the program to align with partners to deliver quality science to underpin the sustainable growth of aquaculture in the region.

Organizations named as supporting the Call to Action are: The African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), the East African Community Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (EAC-LVFO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the

Southern African Development Community (SADC), the World Aquaculture Society and WorldFish.

About WorldFish

WorldFish ( is an international, nonprofit research organization that harnesses the potential of fisheries and aquaculture to reduce hunger and poverty. Globally, more than one billion poor people obtain most of their animal protein from fish and 800 million depend on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods. WorldFish is a member of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future.

About FISH

Pursuing a research agenda through a network of multistakeholder partners, The CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agrifood Systems (FISH) enhances the contributions of fisheries and aquaculture to reducing poverty and improving food security and nutrition. FISH brings together a unique set of multi-stakeholder partnerships to harness emerging science in aquaculture and fisheries to deliver development outcomes at scale. FISH is led by WorldFish, together with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, Australia; the International Water Management Institute ; Natural Resources Institute at the University of Greenwich (NRI), England and Wageningen University, Netherlands. In regional contexts, the program partners closely with governments, NGOs, the private sector and research organizations to influence national, regional and global policy and development practice.

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CGIAR ( is a global research partnership for a food-secure future. Its science is carried out by the 15 research Centers that are members of the CGIAR Consortium in collaboration with hundreds of partners.

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