© GIZ/Mechthild Kronen

Aquatic or ‘blue’ foods should play a key role in the fight against hunger and poverty worldwide. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, together with its partners, is committed to sustainable fisheries management and the empowerment of small-scale fishers and women in fisheries value chains, with a view to conserving valuable aquatic resources and improving food security, income and economic growth in our partner countries.

Fish and other aquatic foods (such as shellfish and algae) are an important source of protein and micronutrients, especially for people in our partner countries. However, the intensive use of global fish stocks has led to them being severely depleted. Globally, 35 percent of commercially exploited fish stocks are considered to be overfished, and 57 per cent to be at maximum yield. As a source of high-quality proteins, healthy fats and essential nutrients, aquatic foods make a significant contribution to preventing malnutrition. They cover at least 20 per cent of the animal protein requirements of more than 3.3 billion people worldwide. In addition, fisheries provide at least part of the livelihoods of 67.5 million people, more than 90 per cent of whom work in artisanal fisheries along the value chain.

One of the greatest threats to marine ecosystems is illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, as it undermines national and regional efforts to manage fisheries sustainably and conserve marine biodiversity. IUU fishing can lead to the collapse of local fisheries, and small-scale fisheries in our partner countries are proving to be particularly vulnerable. It threatens livelihoods, exacerbates poverty and increases food insecurity. In addition, the effects of climate change jeopardise the conditions for aquatic resources and reduce access to them.

Sustainable fisheries management is necessary to conserve fish stocks and the small-scale fisheries that depend on them. On behalf of the German Government, GIZ is therefore promoting measures and strengthening capacities for sustainable and climate-resilient fisheries as an important part of efforts to transform food systems.

Specifically, GIZ is committed to bringing about improvements by:

  • Promoting equitable access to fisheries resources and their sustainable management, based on an ecosystem-based approach
  • Supporting partner countries in implementing effective fisheries management, including the following aspects in particular:
    • Capacity building in fisheries institutions and local communities on the ground
    • Strengthening transparency and participatory approaches and the involvement of local communities in fisheries management decisions
    • Reducing post-catch losses, which can be very high in our partner countries
    • Strengthening the monitoring, control and surveillance capacities of partner countries to combat illegal fishing
    • Supporting the improvement of scientific databases
  • Promoting justice and equality in the fisheries sector, with a focus on equal opportunities for women, fair access to resources and the involvement of all stakeholders in accordance with the principle of ‘blue justice’
  • Helping to develop fisheries value chains, taking into account environmental and consumer protection as well as social criteria

GIZ’s work is guided by important international agreements, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication, the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the United Nations Kunming–Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

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