Fostering collaboration among Afro-Asian countries is essential to address challenges in fisheries and aquaculture, the Assistant Secretary-General of the African-Asian Rural Development Organisation (AARDO) has said.

The trans-boundary nature of marine fisheries and issues of aquaculture demand transnational cooperation and a joint effort to implement sustainable practices in the region. This assumes significance in the wake of a range of challenges, including climate change, Rami Mahmoud Abdel Halim Qtaishat, said while inaugurating a 10-day international workshop-cum-training programme at the ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) on Monday.

He said balancing the exploitation and utilisation of marine resources is critical for the health of the ocean and the sustainability of the food production system. AARDO is committed to fostering partnerships among its member countries to address shared challenges in the sector.

Mentioning that fish remains a highly traded global food commodity, Rami Mahmoud said half of its export value originates from developing countries. Fish and seafood play a vital role in providing nutritional security and fuelling a livelihood.

Officials and researchers from eight AARDO member countries, namely Oman, Egypt, Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia, Malaysia and Bangladesh are attending the workshop, which is part of the international collaboration between the Ministry of Rural Development and AARDO, New Delhi.

Khushnood Ali, Head of the Research Division and Programme Coordinator of AARDO, said many African-Asian countries are striving to transform their food production sectors, amid a series of daunting challenges such as poverty, hunger, food and nutritional insecurity, climate change and environmental degradation.

The technological divide is one of the major issues faced by these nations, and this can be resolved to a great extent by fostering cooperation among countries, enabling the transfer of technologies, he said. “Establishing a resilient and sustainable food system is necessary for eradicating hunger, addressing rural poverty and for inclusive growth,” Khushnood Ali said.

CMFRI Director A Gopalakrishnan said the collaborative effort of governments, scientists and other stakeholders is needed to implement sustainable practices in fisheries and aquaculture, and protect the aquatic biodiversity.

The workshop will provide exposure and hands-on training in the areas of fisheries management, fish stock estimation, climate change impact on fisheries and mitigation, responsible fisheries, aquaculture, good aquaculture practices, fish health, mariculture activities such as cage farming, seaweed farming, fish breeding and seed production, ornamental fish culture, value addition technologies, fish nutrition, fisheries socio-economics, etc, to the participants.