Breeding, Selling and Consuming My African Fish

Published: 2021-06-17 09:45:30
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Category: Nature, Zoology

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Growing up by the sea side was always fascinating to me. I grew up in the early 90s to experience fishing at the coast by virtue of the fact that we lived beside the beach. Our home was approximately 20 kilometers from the seashore and still is. One day, at the age of five, my dad took me to the beach. Probably it was to buy from the fishermen’s fresh caught or so I presumed. Back then I had no idea of the reason of my being there with my father but for the first time I witnessed something remarkable. Some of the catch were taken from the nets and thrown back into the ocean. I had to ask the most reliable person to me at that time- my father, why the act? His response was that and I quote “People from our tribe do not eat that species of fish.” I got to learn that many other ethnic groups all over the coastal region of the African continent have similar ethnic laws like what my father told me.
Many years later returning to the same beach beside our home (because I had been away for over 11 years) I found the same species of fish- the same that no one will eat even if it was offered for free now been scrambled for by market women wanting to buy in order to resell for profit. Whoa! I exclaimed and said to my brother “what changed?” I was now educated and could reason. I ask myself questions: it is because the demand for fish has increased? Or the catch for other species have fallen so that provision for fish protein is fast becoming scarce? Or is there a change in the idea that made the fish species a myth in the first place? I sought to look at the African fish market: its volume, trends, growth rate, profitability, distributive channels and success factors over some years.World Production and Overall Trends
I decided to take a look at the world production and the African share production of capture fisheries production and found out it has remained stable at around 90 million tons per year. By 2010, Africa contributed 7 597 427 million tons. That is 9% of global caught supply, representing a regional increase of 6.8 times from 1 109 387 tons in 1950. In that year, fish catches and aquaculture totaled some 158 million tons valued at US$ 217.5 billion.
the African total capture fisheries and aquaculture production dropped slightly to about 8 995 518 tons (6% of world total) by 2011 of which 1 398 091 tons came from aquaculture and 7 597 427 tons from capture catches. Overall though, Africa’s contribution to world fishery production has grown from 5.9% in 1950 to 8.1% in 2011. This increase has been due to the extension of national Exclusive Economic zone [EEZs] to 200 miles, higher fishing capacity and technological progress, creation of national industrial fleets, high rate of motorization of artisanal canoes (61% in Africa) and fishing agreements signed between African countries and the EU zone.
In 2010 global inland production was estimated at 11.2 million tons, of which Africa contributed about 2.5 million tons. Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania are the leading fishing countries in the African Great Lakes region, while Nigeria and Egypt, with their river fisheries, remain the main producers in Africa.
Intra-regional Trade in African Fisheries
It might just be that the problem lurks within intra-regional trade between African country. Although in recent times, the African share in world production and supplies of captured fisheries is rising, intra-regional fish trade in Africa has remain low given that it is marked by complex trade policies, inadequate infrastructures, inefficient institutional frameworks. Thus the transportation of fisheries across borders has become expensive which translate itself to high prices and making markets inaccessible and unavailable. For example, according to the Fisheries committee for West-Central Gulf of Guinea (regional fisheries body) WorldFish studies have shown that only 6 percent of the fish gets across Senegalese national borders. Despite potential of intra-regional fish trade in addressing food & nutrition insecurity, and poverty, this is often overlooked and neglected in national and regional policies. As a result, intra-regional fish trade remains largely informal across borders by small-scale traders. Invariably the 2010 Conference of African Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture (CAMFA) reaffirmed fisheries role in achieving the 6% annual agricultural growth envisaged by CAADP1, and committed to strengthening policy coherence. Despite these noble initiatives, sub-Saharan Africa still faces challenges in documenting and boosting sub-regional fish trade.
Fish Market Size in Africa
The production size of the African fish market can be segmented into aquaculture and capture fisheries. Both market segments can further be segmented into Marine/coastal aquaculture and inland aquaculture for the aquaculture farming while the capture fishery is broken down to Marine/coastal capture [artisanal and industrial] fisheries and inland capture fishery farming.
Aquaculture Production Size in Sub-Saharan Africa
Raising up water animals have been gaining grounds in sub- Saharan Africa in recent times. Giving that territorial waters both marine and inland has great potential for variety of aquatic farming species, countries like Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, Madagascar, South Africa have all improve on their aqua cultural output in the last seven years from 2008 to 2014. These countries are the leading nations in aquaculture in sub- Saharan Africa. Their percentage share production amounts up to 93.2% of the total production from sub Saharan Africa while aquaculture production in other sub-Saharan African countries amounts for only 6.8% of output. Fish farming currently accounts for more than 30 percent of global fish supply; of which Africa as a whole contributes less than 2 percent! The region to region share value of aquaculture in sub- Saharan African therefore can be shown on a table both in quantity [tons] and in value of US dollars from 2010 to 2014 as below.

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