EAST AFRICA—Ecofish, a 28-million-euro (US$ 30 million) project aimed at enhancing the blue economy drive through sustainable management of inland and marine coastal fisheries in East Africa is set to conclude in September this year.

Implemented across four economic blocs in Africa in 2019, the initiative was meant to boost fish output by implementing policies to handle fish resources effectively, protecting them, and promoting good fishing practices.

Over the years, Ecofish has already achieved notable success, including the training of seven Beach Management Units in mobile fisheries data collection and the provision of mobile fisheries data collection equipment to Lamu and Kwale County Fisheries Departments in Kenya.

In Tanzania, eleven marine resource user maps were produced, with five from Pemba and six from Unguja, while Pangani contributed one collective map through their Collaborative Fisheries Management Area (CFMA) for Ushongo, Stahabu, Sange, and Kipumbwi (USTASAKI CFMA).

A recent report by the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) highlights the economic contribution of fisheries to national GDPs, primarily through raw harvests.

According to the report, fisheries sector’s contribution to partner states’ GDPs is increasing – currently, the sector contributes 1.75 percent to Tanzania’s GDP and 3.6 percent and 0.6 percent to Uganda’s and Kenya’s GDP, respectively.

Addressing a steering committee meeting of the program, Mr. Edward Rukunya, a fisheries expert and director of fisheries at the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), emphasized the significance of the fisheries sector in feeding the population and driving the blue economy.

Mr. Rukunya reminded those present how Lake Victoria was a notorious illegal fishing hub, a characteristic that has already seen a steady fall ever since the initiative took place.

“We have been able to sensitize our communities in fish breeding areas to the dangers of illegal fishing’” he said.

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