Africa possesses important natural capital in the form of its fish and aquatic resources. In order to realize its full potential, reform is required in the overall policy and governance framework with practical implementation of this reform at the fishery level.
African States have deployed considerable efforts in developing their fisheries policies and sectors over the past couple of decades. The results have not met expectations for many reasons, but the critical general issue is that countries have not addressed fisheries management successfully at the fishery level.
In most cases, reform is best implemented gradually, fishery by fishery, by using a fishery management plan process based on fishery management units which are defined in terms of the resource (or set of resources) and the type(s) of fishing together with the spatial dimension.
A generic approach needs to begin with a participatory diagnosis; then needs to undertake some bio economic modelling, agree on broad management goals, and establish a rights regime with an allocation mechanism and functional rules. The resulting plan will require a number of supporting instruments, including appropriate sanctions and a fish stock assessment.