WASHINGTON, March 16, 2015 – The World Bank Group’s (WBG) Board of Executive Directors today approved a total of US$22 million to strengthen the management and governance of fisheries as well as improve the handling of fish that is brought to shore in Mauritania and Guinea.
Today’s project that focuses on these two countries is a component of the ongoing West Africa Regional Fisheries Program (WARFP), a nine-country, multi-phase series of projects approved by the World Bank in 2009 to ensure the productivity of West African water’s wealth of fish resources is maintained at its best level. The other countries under implementation included in the program are Cabo-Verde, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.
“Fisheries are a key contributor to food security, nutrition and job creation for Guinea and Mauritania, who are among the poorest and most vulnerable in the world. Fish and fish products accounts for an average of 17.9% of animal protein. WBG estimates suggest that improved fisheries governance and resource management could generate at least an additional $2 billion per year in sustainable benefits,” said Colin Bruce, the World Bank Director of Regional Integration for Africa. “Promoting sustainable use of fisheries, linking smaller operators to new value chains and improving regional cooperation over shared resources will support the vulnerable and the poor that depend on fisheries as well as contribute to the initial recovery phase from the Ebola crisis.”
The coastal populations of Mauritania and Guinea suffer from challenges such as too little economic growth, hunger, poverty and exposure to climate change impacts. The current Ebola crisis in Guinea has been affecting the country since December 2013, closing Guinea’s terrestrial borders, disrupting air travel, and drawing on government resources. The project, targeting primarily the artisanal segment, is expected to actively contribute to the initial recovery phase from the Ebola crisis by supporting the vulnerable and the poor that depend on fisheries and fish resources.
The project will continue to promote regional cooperation to improve regional fisheries management focusing on reducing Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing and help countries address other shared challenges. Safeguarding fish resource productivity and developing the value chain for fish production will expand the fishers’ livelihoods as a step towards reducing poverty.
The WARFP has already made great strides to improve fisheries management and marine health in the other countries that are a part of this program. In Liberia, the incidence of illegal fishing has been reduced by 83%. Improved management is also generating visible impact in early WARFP countries. The introduction of community-led fisheries management in Senegal has been successful in restoring the resources. Some communities have reported a 133% increase in catch efficiency. Almost all countries have reached a 100% registration rate for the artisanal fleet.
To leverage these previous investments Mauritania will receive $12 million from IDA and $7 million in co-financing trust funds from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). In addition Guinea will receive $10 million to strengthen country-wide institutions and activities, improve fishers’ livelihoods, and fight illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
“According to USAID, West Africa alone could be losing as much as US$1.3 billion annually from Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing,” said Berengere P. C. Prince, the World Bank Group’s WARFP Task Team Leader. “The West Africa fisheries are part of a larger marine ecosystem and shared by all countries of the region. Today’s project will support regional coordination among Mauritania and Guinea as well as the other countries, fight Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing and improve the health and sustainability of the fisheries.”