Fisheries Policy Reform Decisions and their Influence on Harmonization and Coordination: A Case of African Union and East African Community

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The African Union (AU) Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture (PFRS) identifies the lack of policy coherence and coordination in the management of fisheries and aquaculture in the AU member states as one of the key challenges for the sustainable management of the fisheries and aquaculture resources. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of policy reform decisions on harmonization and coordination in fisheries sector within the East African Community (EAC) region. More specifically, the study sought to: review the existing African Union and East African Community policies in the fisheries sector; evaluate challenges facing the fisheries sector among EAC partner States; and analyse opportunities among the EAC partner States in implementation of fisheries sector policy reform decisions. The study covers East African Community as an area of study looking at Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania who are the only signatories to the convention for the establishment of East African Community Regional Fisheries Organization. The study utilized the concurrent mixed methods approach to the research. In particular, the cross-sectional study design was employed. The target population geographically covered the countries that share Lake Victoria waters; Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The research used both probability and non-probability. The data collection was done through primary and secondary data collection methods. Both semi-structured and non-structured interviews were used to collect information from the participants. The research was both quantitative and qualitative in nature. Both qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques were used. The data was presented in form of tables and graphical presentations such as pie charts and bar graphs. The study found that establishment of monitoring, controlling and surveillance unit; strengthening of human resource development in fisheries sector; strengthening resource management in fisheries sector; establishment of vii legislative framework for fisheries sector; and adoption of institutional framework for fisheries sector were among the African Union policies and strategies to be adopted by RECs in fisheries sector policy reforms. Secondly, use of illegal fishing gears and illegal methods; harvesting of endangered and rare aquatic species; over-dependence on fishery resources leading to increased number of fishers and fishing boats and over-exploitation; harvesting of immature fishes; high prevalence of HIV/AIDs among the fishing communities; prevalent poverty of the fishing communities; inappropriate and uncoordinated policies on fish trade; environmental degradation; problem of invasive species and open access nature of fisheries resources for inland fisheries and marine small-scale fisheries were among the general challenges facing fisheries in EAC partner States. Finally, political will at country level to engage and reform their fisheries and develop sustainable aquaculture; the contribution of fisheries to nutrition and food security as per SDGs; good physical environment for aquaculture development; the EU common fisheries policy reform, giving impetus for EAC to have the policy reform; and the potential of the fisheries sector to generate wealth, reduce poverty and create job opportunities were found to be the opportunities among the EAC partner States regarding the implementation of fisheries sector policy reform decisions. The study recommends that governments of EAC member States need to adopt and implement the African Union policies and strategies on fisheries.




African Union (AU) Policy Framework, Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture