UNCTAD and Mauritius have signed a memorandum of understanding to open a new center of excellence for the fisheries sector in developing countries.
The center will serve as a practical site for putting policy recommendations for least developed countries (LDCs) into action and will bring together experts, researchers and policymakers from the LDCs and other African and Asian countries with strong experiences in developing their fisheries sectors to exchange best practices and insights, UNCTAD said in a press release.
“This includes providing support to training activities and building institutional, as well as regulatory capacities of developing countries,” said Paul Akiwumi, director of UNCTAD’s division for Africa and least developed countries.
The center will host training and capacity-building events for African and Asian countries, with an eye towards harnessing the potential of their fisheries and aquaculture sectors for sustainable growth, transformation and poverty alleviation.
It will also provide interactive and hands-on training courses, starting with a regional training course on harnessing the potential of the fisheries sector for socioeconomic development in LDCs. This first training course is taking place May 6 to 11. A similar course was held in Vietnam in November 2018.
“Many LDCs and small island developing states from Africa, and other regions, stand to benefit from the experience of Mauritius in the development of its domestic fisheries sector,” Paul Akiwumi said.
With the center, Mauritius’s Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping joins the Nha Trang University of Vietnam, home to the Asian Regional Center of Excellence for the Fisheries Sector, the Royal Tropical Institute of the Netherlands and the European University Institute in Florence, Italy as UNCTAD centers of excellence.
LDCs are among the largest producers of fish in the world. Six of the top 16 producers of fish from inland waters are LDCs.
For 14 out of the world’s 47 LDCs, fish is one of their top five export products, but globally, the LDC share in total fish exports remains at just 2%.
Despite the size and economic importance of fisheries in these countries, the sector remains mostly informal, dominated by small-scale and traditional fishing, with limited scope for food processing or the transformation of fish and seafood into higher-value-added products.