Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Fishing trade helps Africa

Eating fish imported from poor African countries can help rather than harm those economies according to new research by scientists at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, working in partnership with the University of East Anglia.

The report draws on research by Dr Arthur Neiland and Dr William Emerson of the UK government-funded Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Programme (SFLP). It will be presented to the BA Festival of Science on September 6 by SFLP policy adviser Dr Edward Allison, of UEA’s School of Development Studies.

Drawing together recent studies of the global fish trade’s impact on developing economies, Dr Allison concludes that far from taking high-quality food from the mouths of the poor, exports to the West are both morally justifiable and economically sensible because the revenues they generate can improve local food security and boost the domestic economies.

“Our work on the seafood trade between Europe and West Africa reveals that, in general, trade does not decrease food security,” said Dr Allison.

“This is because the fish that are traded internationally are generally higher-value species, such as tuna, hake, sole, shellfish, octopus and squid, which would have been destined for luxury urban markets anyway, rather than being an important part of the diets of the poor and food-insecure.”

Fish are the most traded of all agricultural commodities and, valued at $71 billion per year, their trade is worth more than the whole coffee, tea and sugar trades put together. There is a net flow of fish from developing countries to the developed world and sometimes poor countries sell the rights to their fish to wealthy European countries whose own fishing fleets have already depleted waters closer to home. At first glance, this is another example of rich countries exploiting the resources of the poor, and indeed, this is the way the trade is often portrayed - for example in the Oscar-nominated documentary film on Lake Victoria’s fish trade, Darwin’s Nightmare.

However, for developing countries in regions such as West Africa, fish exports to Western markets, especially in Europe, are a major source of foreign exchange revenue. The fish export trade also helps to underpin the operation of domestic fisheries, which provide a basis for the livelihoods and employment of thousands of local people, mainly in coastal regions.

The export trade from West Africa is dominated by four countries – Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Mauritania – and the bulk of the fish exported is high value species such as prawns, tuna and squid. Their export does not affect the availability of the lower-value species that are important in the diet of the domestic poor, including sardines, anchovies, and freshwater species like catfish and tilapia. (Of more concern is the growing export trade in lower-value species from West-African waters, mainly to markets in the Far-East, with China emerging as a major buyer.)

Though the export of fish from developing countries doesn’t necessarily lead to its shortage in domestic markets, Dr Allison stressed that there were still legitimate concerns that global demand, coupled with weak fisheries management, could compromise the sustainability of fishing in African waters. There were also worries that traditional, small-scale fisherfolk and fish traders could be displaced by the global seafood trade.

The Sustainable Fisheries Livelihoods Programme (SFLP) is implemented by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in partnership with the governments and fishing communities of 25 West and Central African countries. This study of the fish trade forms part of a series of policy briefs on ‘New Directions in Fisheries’, conceived and edited by FAO’s Benoit Horemans and UEA’s Dr Edward Allison.

Dr Allison’s research will be presented as part of Should I eat fish? – an event at the BA Festival of Science on Wednesday September 6 from 2-5pm in the Elizabeth Fry Building, room 01.02.

Press Office | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht Blockchain Set to Transform the Financial Services Market
28.09.2016 | HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management

nachricht Paper or plastic?
08.07.2016 | University of Toronto

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>