Côte d’Ivoire’s small-scale fisheries actors determined to play a role in fisheries management

ABIDJAN – 25-26 April. For the first time in the history of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Societies and Actors in Côte d’Ivoire (FENASCOOP-CI), the Federation took the initiative to organise a workshop to highlight the important role of small-scale fisheries actors in ensuring an environmentally- and socially sustainable development of fisheries in Côte d’Ivoire.

For this event, the FENASCOOP-CI mobilised representatives of its member cooperatives spread all over the country. The goal of the 80 participants: showing the authorities and the government’s technical partners the willingness and capacity of small-scale fisheries actors to play a key role in ensuring a sustainable and inclusive management of Côte d’Ivoire’s fisheries sector.

Both the Minister of Fisheries, H.E. Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani – represented by its Chef de Cabinet – and the Director of the Fisheries Department, Dr. Helguilé Shep, actively contributed to the workshop. As another sign of support of the Government to this initiative, the Fisheries Department also hosted the event in its facilities.

This workshop followed a recent landmark event for the FENASCOOP-CI, whose representatives were invited by the Ivorian authorities to participate in the negotiations of the new Fisheries Agreement’s Protocol between Côte d’Ivoire and the European Union (the current Protocol is due to end in June 2018). Until this year, no artisanal fisheries organisations had ever taken part in such negotiations in Côte d’Ivoire.

In a country where 60% of the catches are made by the small-scale sector, the FENASCOOP-CI has long been advocating for the essential role of artisanal fisheries actors in decision-making processes. According to the Federation, artisanal fisheries actors have a key role to play in providing information that will support informed and transparent decisions that take into ac-count the real needs of the sector and its actors.

In line with the objective of the workshop to vulgarise the FAO’s Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (2015), the FENASCOOP-CI also used this forum to start a debate around the question of transparency and to reflect on the opportunities of implementing the FiTI in Côte d’Ivoire. Transparency and inclusiveness are indeed key principles of the voluntary guidelines and of the FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. The recent progress in the negotiations of the EU-Côte d’Ivoire fisheries agreement and the inclusive and open dialogue of this 2-day workshop seem to confirm a solid foundation for implementing the FiTI in the country. “This workshop allowed us to better understand the stakes and objectives of the FiTI in terms of transparency”, said Mamadou Bakayoko, President of the FENASCOOP-CI in his closing remarks. “Our wish is that Côte d’Ivoire joins the initiative”.