EAST AFRICA – The European Union has injected £2m (US$2.2m) into the European Union Development Fund’s E€OFISH programme initiated in the Lake Victoria region to boost sustainable fisheries for the blue economy.

The overall objective of the program is to enhance equitable economic growth by promoting sustainable fisheries in the Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean regions.

The programme to be implemented under the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), has been endorsed by the First E€OFISH Regional Programme Steering Committee (PSC).

Member states in the LVFO programme are Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda.

Activities to be implemented in the programme include enhancing the institutional, structural and legal frameworks of LVFO against the backdrop of expanded scope and mandate; reviewing performance of Lake Victoria Fisheries Management Plan-III (2016/20) and drafting the Lake Victoria Fisheries Management Plan-IV (2021/25).

Other activities are regional harmonisation of the annual licensing of fisheries, fishing boats and fishers, expansion and updating of the existing fisheries database, marking and protection of biodiversity hotspots and breeding/nursery areas in selected areas and conducting lake-wide Frame Survey on Lake Victoria.

Also, on cards are establishing and implementing a regional monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) system that encompasses, development of regional guidelines or framework on fisheries licensing and establishment of user rights-based management systems control of open access.

The programme will seek regional harmonisation, planning the implementation and conducting of MCS operations on Lake Victoria.

There will be training in enforcement, compliance and prosecution procedures in enforcement, compliance and prosecution procedures.

Also, facilitation of national high-level policy dialogue on illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and sensitize fisher communities and lower-level leadership on the importance of their roles in combating IUU.

In addition to that there will be provision of communication and visibility actions in line with the E€OFISH communication and visibility strategy.

The specific objective of the project is to support sustainable management and development of fisheries in order to contribute to poverty alleviation, food and nutrition security while addressing climate change resilience and enhancing marine biodiversity.

The E€OFISH Programme is also implemented in four other regional economic communities, namely SADC, COMESA, IOC and IGAD with the support of the European Union.