Maputo — The governments of Mozambique, Norway and Iceland have pledged to renew their cooperation in fisheries for the period 2009-2013, seeking to improve and make sustainable the exploitation of Mozambican fisheries resources.
The programme of fisheries assistance for the next four years will be co-financed by Norway and Iceland to the tune of 27.7 million US dollars in grants, under new bilateral agreements and a tripartite memorandum of understanding.
The funds will be used to strengthen the capacity and skills of the fisheries administration in the areas of research, fisheries management, aquaculture, artisanal fishing, quality control and training. It will also finance measures to improve the living conditions of fishing communities, and small and medium sized business activity.
Fisheries Minister Cadmiel Muthemba reiterated the undertaking of the Mozambican government to observe the principles that will guide trilateral cooperation, particularly the sense of responsibility in managing the resources that the two Nordic partners are making available, to implement the objectives advanced in the programme.
Muthemba described Norway and Iceland as "strategic partners in developing the fisheries sector". It was thanks to their support, he said, that Mozambique "has laid the technical and scientific bases necessary for the sustainable management of fishery resources and to keep our fisheries produce on the international markets".
The Minister put average annual production at 130,000 tonnes of fisheries produce. Most of this is consumed locally, but 10,000 tonnes of high value produce (notably prawns) is exported, earning the country about 55 million dollars.
Muthemba said that the contribution of the fisheries sector is three per cent of gross national product, and it employs 150,000 people in fishing and aquaculture, and in the processing and marketing of fisheries produce.