Stepping up (10 of them) support for inland fisheries

Written by: So-Jung Youn

Primary Source:  Human+Nature Blog 

A few weeks ago (July 11 – 15), I was in Rome, Italy, for the 32nd meeting of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI). COFI, which is part of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), meets every two years to discuss major fisheries and aquaculture issues and address recommendations to governments, governing bodies and stakeholders. One of the main outcomes of each COFI meeting is the release of the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) report, which this year included a section on improving the valuation of inland fisheries.

This year’s COFI meeting was attended by 562 registered delegates, representing 126 countries and severalSo-Jung Youn in Italy intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

As representatives of MSU, we were in Rome to give the delegates attending COFI a report on the Global Conference on Inland Fisheries, which took place January 2015, and also ask the delegates to recognize the Rome Declaration: 10 Steps to Responsible Inland Fisheries, which detailed the 10 steps conference participants identified as being necessary for inland fisheries sustainability and responsible use. At COFI, MSU also hosted a side-event celebrating the launch of the Global Conference proceedings book.

Members of COFI were very supportive of the 10 Steps. Many delegates spoke about the vital contribution of inland fisheries to nutrition security and livelihoods within their countries. Recognizing the importance of inland fisheries, COFI voted to include inland fisheries as a standing agenda item for future COFI sessions and also recommended improvement of data and statistics regarding inland fisheries.

  • Zambia delegation: “Social and economic benefits of inland fish to local communities can’t be overlooked”
  • Indonesian delegation: “Managing small-scale fisheries is basically managing people”
  • Saudi Arabian delegation: “Nutrition has an ethical angle”

As MSU Provost June Youatt said during the book launch side-event, the events at COFI mark the beginning, rather than the end, of the efforts that led to the Global Conference on Inland Fisheries and the Rome Declaration. The next step is regional implementation of the 10 steps and improving data on inland fisheries production, use, and value. To this end MSU and FAO, together with other collaborators, will continue their partnership through a joint project in Lake Victoria, internship programs and exchange of professors and fisheries professionals.


A Glimpse of MSU at Cofi in Rome from CSIS at MSU on Vimeo.

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So-Jung Youn
So-Jung Youn is currently a PhD student with Dr. William Taylor at Michigan State University. She is interested in global utilization of inland capture fisheries and the inland fisheries value chain. She is studying ways to assess and value inland fisheries, such as using consumption surveys and household dynamics to estimate inland fisheries harvest. So-Jung is also interested in valuation of the services provided by inland fisheries and characterization of the inland fisheries value chain. Her MS thesis, "The Importance of Inland Fisheries to Global Food Security", focused on the contribution of inland fisheries to food security and livelihoods. So-Jung received a MS in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University and a BS in Biology, with a minor in Management and Organizational Leadership, from the College of William and Mary.
So-Jung Youn

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