The National Stakeholder and Advocacy Capacity Building Workshop for the implementation of Small-scale fisheries (SSF) Guidelines in Nigeria was held from 9 to 11 May 2022. The workshop was organised by Lagos State University (LASU) with support from Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), WorldFish Centre and the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) based in India. The Workshop was declared opened by the Vice-Chancellor of LASU, Professor Ibiyemi Tunji-Bello. The Chief convener of the workshop, Professor Shehu Akintola, said the event was aimed at drawing attention and support to the implementation of the SSF Guidelines.

He added that, these guidelines would ensure sustainable development within the small-scale fishery sector of agriculture, although there were lots of challenges affecting the fishery business globally.

In the Nigerian context, the workshop will help to draw the attention of all the stakeholders, from the government, media, human rights practitioners, youths, fishers (both males and females), academicians, NGOs/CSOs, and Consumers. Reaching out to everybody is intended to help reduce poverty and hunger to the minimum level conceivable.

The Fishery and Aquaculture Officer, FAO Regional Office for Africa based in Ghana, Dr. Dismas Mbabazi, said, about 90% of Africa’s Fisheries are small-scale which provide a source of food and income for the national economy, a way of life for many people and also help in maintaining the ecosystem and climate. He added that small-scale fisheries remain one of the most important resources for developing countries in Africa, including Nigeria. The event attracted international experts and scholars, notably Ms Lena Westlund, who is an international fisheries analyst, Food and Agriculture Organization, Dr. Kendra Byrd, Senior Research Fellow, Nutrition and Food Systems University of Greenwich Natural Resources Institute (NRI), UK; Dr. Philippa Cohen, Consultant to WorldFish and Adjunct Research Fellow at James Cook University, Australia; Prof. Emeritus Svein Jentoft, UiT the Arctic University of Norway; Dr. Ahmed Khan, Chief Fisheries Officer (Coordinator, Blue Economy Flagship), AFDB; Dr. Sebastian Mathew, Executive Director ICSF in India; Dr. Sunil Siriwardena, WorldFish Centre; Professor Stella Williams, Vice President, Mundus maris asbl; Lillian Ibengwe, National Tax Team NTT, Tanzania; and Mr. Obinna Anozie from AU-Ibar in Kenya; Mr Alieu Sowe, representing the African Advisory Board from the Gambia, and the Co-host, Dr. Kafayat Fakoya, currently in the USA; Dr. Lydia Adeleke, member of Mundus maris asbl based at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Representatives of Fisheries Cooperatives in Nigeria, several members of LASU Academic Staff and several government representatives from Abuja and Lagos Department of Fisheries, Sustainable Development Development Goals (SDGs), and others, including students of Lagos State University. 

Professor Stella Williams, Vice President, Mundus maris asbl, talked about the establishment of the National SSF Guidelines Alliance Network (Steering Committee). In her speech, she shared the vision and mission of the Mundus maris asbl, as an organisation that is ready to collaborate and/or partner in the successful implementation of the SSF Guidelines in Nigeria. She shared a power point on how Mundus maris asbl has set up an small-scale fisheries (SSF) Academy in Senegal as an operational support for implementing the SSF Guidelines and achieve the SDGs in a participatory manner. Dr. Lydia Adeleke (Mundus maris asbl member) was also present at the workshop.

Mr Obinna Anozie, fishery and aquaculture management expert of the African Union’s InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), Kenya, believed that having attracted top international organisations, the workshop participants should create a platform for key actors in order to achieve effective implementation of the SSF Guidelines and SDGs.

Participants deliberated and agreed on the importance of implementing the SSF Guidelines for sustainable fishery production. Some of the recommendations highlighted from the summary of the two (2) technical working groups are to:

  • improve the welfare of fishers (men and women);

  • ensure Government funding of improvements in the fisheries sector;

  • collect and provide gender disaggregated data that adequately capture the inputs of women in fisheries, among others.

The workshop agenda with all scheduled speakers is available here. The detailed report of Working Group 1 is available here.