Fishing Data East Africa: FIDEA Workshop in Zanziar / Tanzania
2 - 13 March 2020, Stone Town, Hotel MARU MARU

After a short welcome by the local workshop organiser, Dr. Saleh Yahya of the Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) in Zanzibar, we started the workshop on Monday, 2nd March with an introduction round and could see that all invited guests were represented.

Thanks to additional funding by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) of approx. 30,000 Euros, we were able to invite not only participants from Zanzibar, Tanzania and Mozambique (FIDEA project partners) but also representatives of fishing institutions from the Comoros, Seychelles, Mauritius, Malawi, Kenya and Zambia.

Ms. Julia Hannig from the German Embassy in Tanzania was also invited and opened the workshop together with the Vice Director of the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries with warm and respectful words.

The workshop continued with the presentation of the UN sustainable develompent goals, including a detailed description of goal 14.4.1 (percentage of marine resources managed in a sustainable way) and the related data and reporting requirements. This sustainable development goal serves as framework for this workshop.

Subsequently, Mr. Kiran Viparthi (FAO), who had visited Mozambique, Tanzania and Zanzibar at the end of last year as a consultant and had interviewed the experts accordingly, presented their systems of fisheries data collection. In this context, synergies and differences were identified and the workshop participants discussed the question of whether it would be possible to simplify and standardise fisheries monitoring in the region. Finally, also guests from other countries of the region reported on their methods and problems of data collection in the fisheries sector.

It became evident that various methods of data collection and archiving are currently employed in the region (for details please refer to Mr. Viparthi's report), and that standardisation (to employ the eCas system already successfully employed in Tanzania) would be useful and could reduce costs.  A fundamental challenge to be met in many places is the cooperation between fisheries research institutions and the ministries of the respective countries, which are responsible for the reporting of fisheries to the FAO.  

On the following day (Tuesday, 3 March) further workshop participants arrived. The representative of the local WIOMSA office in Zanzibar held a welcoming speech in which he emphasized that WIOMSA also supported the FIDEA workshop financially because of its great importance for the West Indian Ocean region. In the following presentations, FAO colleagues Aymen Charef and Yimin Ye outlined the status of the world fishery, showing regional differences and also differences in the quality of reporting. In the West Indian Ocean region, reporting has remained rather weak and only about 30% of the countries have provided information on the share of their resources managed in a sustainable way (SDG 14.4.1). Worldwide, approx. 50% of all countries meet their reporting obligations.

Another focus of the day was the presentation of the questionnaire on national fisheries, which the FAO will send to the responsible authorities of the countries. After having been returned, the information will be evaluated and checked for consistency before each country’s information on fisheries will be included in the regional and global databases. The questionnaire was presented in detail and questions on the different methods of stock analysis and the classification of fisheries stocks were discussed. In the discussion that followed, it became clear that priorities regarding the question of which stocks are to be included in the national data collection are different between the countries. In many cases, data from industrial fisheries are collected rather than those from small-scale fisheries (which are very important locally).

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

09:00 a.m.

Today we start our third day of the FIDEA workshop.Some of the political decision makers of the region who were present for the first two days have already left and other participants have joined us for the more technical part of the workshop.

Yesterday evening we had a reception directly on the beach at the SeaResort Stonetown, a 20 minute car ride away from Stonetown centre. At a temperature of 28°C, delicious finger food, harmonious background music and cold drinks, the evening offered a relaxing contrast to the 10-hour workshop day at the MARU MARU Hotel.

Participants are slowly dropping in and the FAO colleagues who will be leading the course today are still sorting out their presentations.

11:30 a.m.

At the moment, all workshop participants are busy checking or completing the resources reference list of their countries in the FAO country questionnaire. After lunch break, the FAO colleagues will present the FAO online portal (Virtual Research Environment), using sample data sets to introduce and test different stock analysis methods.