Fisheries in the drylands of Sub-Saharan Africa

  • 14/06/2016
  • FAO

Small, fast growing wild fish could be crucial allies in the race to end hunger in some of the world's most chronically poor and underfed regions, according to a new FAO report on fisheries in the drylands of sub-Saharan Africa. Water is an ephemeral resource in Africa's dryland regions, with water bodies forming and disappearing in a relatively short period of time. Despite this, fish - some of which weigh as little as a few grams at maturity - can survive and thrive in these environments, meaning the continent's dryland fisheries are in fact highly productive and resilient, the report says. Output from dryland fisheries fluctuates due to climate trends - mainly low and above all uncertain rainfall -but productive potential is very high in smaller water bodies, some of which appear only once a decade but can produce up to 150 kilograms of fish per hectare per year. Together, these small water bodies cover a much larger area than the sub-Saharan region's lakes and reservoirs. Properly managed, these bodies in southern Africa alone could produce 1.25 million tonnes of fish -- half the total recorded inland fisheries yield of the entire continent, the report found.