The International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA) was declared by the UNGA in resolution A/RES/72/72 on 5 December 2017.
A large part of that 38 page, 231 paragraph resolution focuses on maritime fisheries, an area that has received a lot of attention in international agreements. Artisanal fisheries are, as I understand it, kind of the “long tail” of ocean fishing, mostly along coasts, and involving many more people (in fishing, local marketing , etc.) than major commercial operations.
Inland fisheries and aquaculture are apparently also included in IYAFA’s mandate.
All of the above merit focused attention due to their importance for sustainable food production and fisheries management.
The IYAFA vision statement attempts to put this all in context:
“A world in which small-scale artisanal fishers, fish farmers and fish workers are fully recognized and empowered to continue their contributions to human well-being, healthy food systems and poverty eradication through the responsible and sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture resources.”
Inland fisheries & fish farms
A couple of personal notes. Towards the end of my stay in Amlamé, Togo, I helped set up the first pisciculture pond in that town, based on notes from my Peace Corps training (not to be scoffed at – the trainer, Dudley Parkinson, knew the subject from much practical experience). The idea was brought up by the local Affaires Sociales office (part of an agency concerned with community service and development), which asked me for help. I was told that this project led to other fish farms being set up after I left.
Later, while living in Djenné, Mali, I witnessed a lot of activity related to fishing and fish processing in the inland Niger delta.
Such traditions and newer initiatives need a supportive policy and research environment that attends to the physical ecologies on which they depend.
IYAFA’s web presence
A note on the IYAFA website (linked at the head of this article). The site is on a subdomain of fao.org, the organization coordinating the Year. It has links to much information but I found I had to navigate around quite a bit to find information (and a graphic) that I sought. Maybe it was just me, but it seemed that a sidebar with quick access links would be helpful.