In recent years, African governments have mobilized around the idea of exploiting a “blue economy.” However, despite positive language from prominent leaders, artisanal fishers have seen little benefit. Small-scale fisheries in Africa are responsible for over half of the catch and provide important food, economic, and cultural benefits to marginalized coastal communities, but they are, still marginalized themselves when it comes to ocean governance and economic development.
Food security and human rights must play a central role in any effort to develop the blue economy. This was the key message of the workshop JENA held for faith-based advocates on Monday, 6th February 2023, which included participants representing Christian, Muslim, and Indigenous African religious traditions.
Participants shared their own experiences of coastal mismanagement and discussed possibilities for improvement, such as introducing the concept of “blue justice” into discussions about the blue economy, centering local communities in ocean governance, and prioritizing food security and nutrition over competing economic concerns.
Below are videos of participants during the workshop sharing their own takeaways from the forum, which was held in Africama House, the Jesuit Conference of Africa, and Madagascar headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.