Thursday, 1 May 2014

EU Gives Africa US$126m For Fisheries

 African Ministers of Agriculture posing for a photo after the official opening of the Joint Ministerial Conference on Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development and Aquaculture at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Picture by Paul Shalala

By Paul Shalala in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The European Union has given Africa US$126 million to protect the fisheries industry on the continent.

The money will among other things try to boost the dwindling fish stocks which are being depleted by indiscriminate fishing.

In countries like Zambia, indiscriminate fishing methods include the use of insecticide treated mosquito nets to catch fish in the country's rivers and lakes.

European Union Director for sustainable Development Roberto Ridolfi says the money will also give an opportunity for Africa to build its marine infrastructure to protect fish.

"We want to promote good governance and the protection of the seas through this money," said Ridolfi during a press briefing at the Africa Union headquarters in Addis Ababa this morning on the sidelines of the Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, Rural development, Fisheries and Aquaculture.

He further said the money is also meant to help African countries to fight illegal and indiscriminate fishing.

"Resources on the sea need protection and they must be accounted for," he said.

Asked by a journalist why the money has been given to the African Union and not individual African states, Mr Ridolfi said the the continental body was better placed to administer it.

"Coastal borders are very difficult to determine, so we have given the money to the AU so that this program is done at the continental level," he said.

Mr Ridolfi later urged the African union to ensure it uses the money for the intended purpose.

The European Union chief is attending the on-going two day Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, Rural development, Fisheries and Aquaculture which opened in Addis Ababa this morning.

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