Adding value to Mauritania’s artisanal fishery sector with a particular focus on women

News and Press Release
Originally published
View original

The artisanal fishery sector in Mauritania is an important sector from a poverty-environment and gender perspective. Currently artisanal fishermen/women work in harsh conditions and with rudimentary tools resulting in poor catches, poor quality of the end products and as a consequence low incomes and overfishing. Aiming to inform decision-making, PEI Mauritania in 2015 concluded a study of how to improve the artisanal fisheries value-chain in order to fight poverty, especially in urban areas. The Department of Fisheries has applied the findings from the study when formulating the country’s new draft recovery plan on artisanal fishery products. Important donors such as UNDP and Japan have committed to support the Government of Mauritania to implement the plan in 2016. - See more at:

Inland fishing is another important source of income and livelihoods in Mauritania. However, inland fishing has been largely neglected in public policies. Existing data for proper planning and management is lacking and institutional capacity to sustainably mange inland lakes remains low. Seeking to shape a national response to these gaps, and building on the study mentioned above, PEI supported the Ministry of Fisheries to together with scientists and fisheries experts undertake a participatory diagnosis of permanent lakes in five districts. The diagnosis concluded that a need exists for an integrated ecosystem management approach that places socio-economic and biological dimensions at the center and promotes a community grounded participatory management approach. As a result of the assessment the Ministry of Fisheries has developed a strategy for the management of permanent lakes to be implemented in the coming two years. Inspired by the findings of the study, PEI Mauritania signed a partnership agreement with the National Society of Fish Distribution (SNDP – a government organization) to establish a self-financing mechanism to improve fish distribution businesses, currently subsidized substantially by the state, for the benefit of the poor. The agreement calls for a pilot program for a number of fish product distribution outlets that aim to increase the nutritional and health quality of fishery products, increase their added value, and their sale price. Under the framework of this program 60 women fish vendors participated in an 11 day training focusing on hygiene, quality and safety issues concerning processing and handling of fish. Parts of the training programme focused on how to improve fish product processing techniques, such as salting, drying and smoking, to improve compliance with health and hygiene regulations and facilitate sales of the fish products. Inspired by the positive feedback from the women who participated in the training SNDP budgeted for the training programme to be replicated throughout the country in 2016.