Small and Mighty

The Banjul civil society declaration on sustainable livelihoods in African fisheries was adopted on 21 September 2010 in Banjul, The Gambia

Artisanal/small-scale fishers and associated civil society representatives from 17 African countries met in Banjul, The Gambia, on 21 September 2010, in advance of the meeting of the Conference of African Ministers on Fisheries and Aquaculture (CAMFA) on 23 September 2010.The meeting was organized by the Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements (CFFA), the African Confederation of Artisanal Fishery Professional Organizations and the Commonwealth Foundation. This meeting formed part of an ongoing process.


1. Noting previous statements on small-scale and sustainable fisheries made in the:

Kilifi Declaration of Intent (2007);

Civil Society Statements to the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (2007, 2009)

Bangkok Statement of Civil Society Organizations on Small-scale Fisheries (2008);

Windhoek Commonwealth Civil Society Statement on Sustainable Fisheries Management for Coastal Communities in Southern Africa (2008); and

Port of Spain Communiqué [paragraph 80] (2009);

2. Endorsing the NEPAD Action Plan for Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture adopted in 2005 by Ministers at the Fish for All Summit held in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2005; as well as the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, in particular, section 6.18 pertaining to artisanal and small-scale fisheries;

3. Recognizing the ongoing process set up by artisanal fishing organizations which led to the creation of a pan-African artisanal and small-scale fishing organization body;

4. We concur with observations made during the meeting of experts on fisheries and aquaculture held in Banjul, The Gambia, 20–21 September 2010 that there is a need for political, institutional and economic reform when addressing issues of fisheries in Africa.

5. In light of this, artisanal/small-scale fishers and associated civil society organizations call for urgent action by African governments to support development and decision-making processes related to the artisanal fisheries sector through the direct engagement of fishworkers, their professional associations and other civil society organizations in educational and research institutions.


Following detailed work by the working groups and a plenary discussion, the following statements were agreed by civil society and community-based artisanal and small-scale fishing organizations.

Civil society and community-based artisanal and small-scale fishing organizations are currently suffering from the effects of climate change, industrial fishing and illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing through dwindling catches, displacement of communities and the destruction of fishing grounds, which, in turn, affects the social stability of entire regions.

The current purely economic approach, which seems to be used by some African governments, represents a threat to the sustainable development of fisheries resources and livelihoods of poor marginalized artisanal and small-scale fishing communities.

Participants highlighted the large number of positive sustainable benefits derived from artisanal/small-scale fishing activities, including food security, creation of jobs and social stability. Artisanal/small-scale fisheries need to be given a much higher developmental priority compared to industrial fishing.

The contribution of the artisanal and small-scale fisheries sector to national economies has been highlighted in the 2007 article by Daniel Pauly, titled “Small but Mighty. For example, the small-scale and artisanal fisheries sector creates employment for over 12 mn people, compared to the approximately half a million employed in the industrial fishing sector. In addition, the capital cost of a job on fishing vessels in the small-scale sector amounts to approximately US$250-2,500 compared to US$30,000-300,000 for industrial fishing; each million dollars invested in fishing vessels creates around 500 to 4,000 jobs in the artisanal fishing sector, compared to five to 30 in the industrial fishery. Furthermore, annual catch figures for human consumption from artisanal/small-scale fisheries total approximately 24 mn tonnes, compared to 29 mn tonnes for industrial fishing. Even though the examples presented are global figures, we believe they are also applicable, pro rata, to African economies.

The NEPAD Action Plan for Development of African Fisheries and Aquaculture confirms the vital contributions of the fisheries sector to food security for 200 mn Africans, while also providing income for over 10 mn people engaged in fish production, processing and trade. The Plan also notes that these benefits come at some risk as the exploitation of natural fish stocks is reaching its limit.


Civil society and community-based artisanal and small-scale fishing organizations are mindful of the action points in the 2005 NEPAD Action Plan for Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture and we reiterate our commitment to working in partnership with African governments and other stakeholders in the implementation of the plan.

We encourage African governments and other stakeholders to work with fishing communities to develop a global strategy to protect and promote the interests of all artisanal and small-scale fishing communities and to support our actions at the level of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI).

We also recognize and support the role of the media in helping to raise awareness, promote transparency and convey the voice of the artisanal and small-scale fisheries sector.

Acknowledging the contribution of artisanal/small-scale fishing organizations to national development, we call for:

a. greater integration of artisanal/small-scale fishing and civil society organizations in the decision-making process and monitoring, control and surveillance as members of governmental, regional and international fishing-related bodies and projects;

b. more transparency and free public access by the artisanal/small-scale fishing communities to information and funds pertaining to fisheries and marine resources management (including, inter alia, scientific data, licensing and fisheries agreements);

c. the support of governments for the development of an international instrument to protect the rights of the artisanal and small-scale fishing communities throughout the world;

d. concerted efforts from African governments and the international community in securing access rights to fish resources, post- harvest rights, fair market prices and human rights, in particular, gender equity;

e. greater recognition of the contribution of fishing communities to the food security, economic, political, social and cultural fabric of African countries; and

f. support from governments and the international community in capacity building, education, health, communications and infrastructure for artisanal/ small-scale fishing communities.

We undertake to engage various actors in the pursuit of the aforementioned goals and actions, in particular, through the organization of an international conference, to ensure that future generations of artisanal/small-scale fishing communities continue to benefit from inland and marine fisheries Tresources, which are our common heritage.

This Statement is endorsed by all the civil society and community-based artisanal and small-scale fishing organizations listed in the box.


  • ADEPEG-CPA, Mamayawa Sandouno, Guinea
  • Agence de Presse Sénégalaise (APS), Assane Dème, Senegal
  • Alvaro Eresfache, Togo
  • CAOPA/FNP, Sidahmed Ould Abeid, Mauritania
  • CAOPA, El Hadji Abdoulay Coume/Chérif Younous Ndiaye, Senegal
  • CAOPA, Gaoussou Gueye, Senegal
  • Gnaba Egni Léon, Côte d’Ivoire
  • CERAD International, Yovo Komla
  • CITA, Alfu El Haji Sene Cisse, Guinea-Bissau
  • CITA, Osman Balde/Ibrahim Kebe, Senegal
  • CITA, Pape Sacko, Mali
  • Coastal Links, Christian Adams, South Africa
  • Daily Newspaper, Saikou Jammeh, The Gambia
  • Dawda F. Saine, The Gambia
  • Eco-Ethics, O Keyo Benards, Kenya
  • El-Molo Forum, Christiana Saiti Louwa, Kenya
  • Fenapeche, Eustache Allaro, Benin
  • FPT/CAOPA, Paul Amouye, Togo
  • GAMFIDA, Baboucar Boyang, The Gambia
  • Gunjur Environment Group (GEPADG)/Commonwealth Human Ecology Council (CHEC), Badara N Bajo/Pa Ebrima Kunta/Amie Seka Touray, The Gambia
  • ICSF, Mamadou Niasse, Senegal
  • Jade/SYFIA, Etienne Tasse, Cameroon
  • Journalist, Wudie Bakie Konwa, Sierra Leone
  • Kalipso/Oceanyka, Vassen Kauppaymuthoo, Mauritius
  • LAFA, Annette Johnson/ Alfred Ni Kawreh/ Theresa Gaway, Liberia
  • Liberia Artisanal Fisheries Association (LAFA), Fojama Joe Brown, Liberia
  • Masifundise, Naseegh Jafeer, South Africa
  • Pechecops, Ahmed Mahmoud Cherif, Mauritania
  • REJOPRAO, Adama Mane, Guinea-Bissau
  • REJOPRAO, Emeka Umejei, Nigeria
  • REJOPRAO, Inoussa Maiga, Burkina Faso
  • REJOPRAO, Jedna Deida, Mauritania
  • REJOPRAO, Lamissa Sangare, Mali
  • REJOPRAO, Mama-Adama Keïta, Guinea
  • REJOPRAO, Naby Zakaria Bamgoura, Guinea
  • REJOPRAO, Papa Adama Mbodji, Senegal
  • ROPA-GVB, Malam Dabo, Guinea-Bissau
  • SLAFU, Thomas Spencer/Thomas O’ Turay, Sierra Leone
  • Tedak Fisheries Cooperative of Nigeria, Ahmed A Muhammed, Nigeria
  • The Voice Newspaper, Amadou Bali, The Gambia
  • TVM+, Soya Watt, Mauritania
  • UNPAG / CAOPA, El hadj Issiaga Daffe, Guinea

For More
Our Fish, Our Future, Civil Society Organizations Portal