The Blue Belt Initiative, a development agenda for the fisheries industry, has made a renewed call for the sustainable development of Africa’s fisheries and aquaculture sectors.
The Initiative, which was launched in 2016 by Morocco, was highlighted at a recent meeting in the same country. It provides a unifying framework for building a sustainable and prosperous fisheries economy.
Organized in Agadir, Morocco, the meeting welcomed representatives from 22 countries, including important African delegations.
All representatives participated in the formulation of a treaty dubbed the Agadir Declaration that highlights the necessity to organise an aquaculture that is innovative and protective for the world’s oceans.
The meeting was able to bring together a large number of African delegates, representatives of countries such as Norway, Spain and the Russian Federation, as well as international experts and members of Food and Agriculture Orgnisation (FAO).
At the meeting, Mr. Aziz Akhannouch, Morocco’s Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests of the Kingdom of Morocco, highlighted the great potential that Africa had.
It emerged that the continent, which will be responsible for the growth of half of the population in the next thirty years, currently contributes only 7% on the global fish production and only 3% on international fishing products.
The Declaration, which was echoed by all representatives, reaffirmed the strategic role of the ocean economy and of aquaculture in Africa in terms of food, economic growth, jobs and innovation.
The Declaration also raised the challenge posed by climate change, but also its threats to the balance of coastal and marine ecosystems and its impacts on fisheries and aquaculture, that are sources of employment and food security for millions of people on the continent.
The Agadir Declaration also called for investing in the blue economy, and more specifically in sustainable, innovative and protective fisheries and aquaculture, by facilitating technological and social innovation, the exchange of good practices and the promotion of sustainable development and social entrepreneurship.
The delegates concluded that such an investment will increase socio-economic and environmental benefits that will, among other things, create jobs, ensure food security, eradicate poverty, preserve marine ecosystems and help Africa adapt to climate change.