The Government of Eritrea has been making significant investments in the inland regions by constructing water retention dams in the inland regions. It has established 330 reservoirs, of which 70 are stocked with different fish species.
However, the inland fisheries resources have are hardly been exploited because local communities are generally not aware of the nutritional benefits of and they lack fishing skills and equipment, apart from the fact that traditionally they are not fishers. The Programme aims to positively change this situation by raising awareness, imparting the right skills and enabling the communities (especially youth and women) to acquire equipment for fishing, fish processing and marketing.
IFAD Country Programme Manager for Eritrea, Eric Rwabidadi has said that this innovative programme will ensure that the country’s marine fishery resources are utilized in a sustainable manner to improve the livelihoods of Red Sea coastal communities, adding that, inland fisheries and aquaculture present another great investment opportunity to increase fish production, incomes, nutrition and employment, especially for youth and women.
FReMP will support the establishment of infrastructure, and technologies for production, post-harvest operations and marketing of both marine and inland fisheries. In addition, it will promote the development and capacity building of cooperatives and other enterprises and ensure that they have access to the requisite tools to undertake economically viable and sustainable fish-related businesses.
Specifically, the programme will target 15 water reservoirs to demonstrate good practice and test successful models that can be replicated and scaled up in other reservoirs. It will also assist in developing climate resilient plans for the water reservoirs, which will lead to improved crop and livestock production. The aim is to not only increase incomes but also to improve food and nutrition security, through availability of increased quantity and quality fish.
In short, the programme is expected to transform Eritrea’s small-scale fisheries sector from subsistence to a sustainable commercial fish industry.