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Facilitating Fish Trade and safeguarding public health in East Africa

Elegu 13th September 2017 – Nearly 200 Border inspectors have received a capacity-building program for one month as part of a strategy to facilitate fish trade in the East African Community (EAC) countries. Indeed, during this last week, border inspectors of South Sudan and Uganda are examining together, in Elegu Uganda, how to make formal cross-border trade in fisheries products more attractive than the current informal and unethical practices. These trainings are jointly conducted by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), through its EU-Funded SmartFish programme, and EAC to improve the quality and to ease Fish Trade in East Africa. 

Awaiting the imminent EAC Council of Ministers approval for the EAC Border Fish Inspector’s (BFI) manual, SmartFish has moved ahead to test through a series of five national training exercises at strategic cross-border fisheries check posts between six EAC countries: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda and one regional training course in Entebbe.

The key expected outcomes from these interventions are (i) to improve the food safety, (ii) to facilitate formal cross-border trade of fish products, (iii) to tackle the scourge of informal trade by making formal cross border trade more attractive and friendly and (iv) to improve the skills and capacity of Fisheries Officers, Police Officers, Customs Officers, Immigration Officers, Port Health Officers and the Bureau of standards Officers of these countries. 

“The BFI project is a stepping stone to promote formal trade thus ensuring public health and promoting ethical practices. In this context and in the near future, Regional Economic Communities would be called to play a major role”, says Satish Hanoomanjee, the IOC-SmartFish Fish Trade Expert. “This initiative is audacious and is considered as a game changer in the cross-border fish trade in support to the regional economic integration in fisheries sector”, he concludes.

“This project is inspired by the high level goal of the African Union, which is to advance regional integration of the African fisheries sector through smart trade and investments as a pathway to achieve the sustainable development goals”, says Godfrey Monor, the LVFO Executive Secretary.

Fish is the largest traded food commodity worldwide: An estimated 45% of the world catch is now traded internationally. According to the UNFAO, the global inland production was estimated at 11.2 million tons in 2010, out of which Africa contributed about 2.5 million tons. Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania are the leading fishing countries in the African Great Lakes Region. The volume of informal trade across these borders is estimated at 35% of total value.

The three days training end with a session dedicated to building awareness of local traders and other concerned stakeholders in terms of fish safety, compliance and trade facilitation measures. 

Notes to editors

The SmartFish Programme, implemented by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and funded by the European Union, is the largest Fisheries Programme in Africa, involving 20 countries in East and Southern Africa as well as the Indian Ocean region. The IOC is a Mauritius-based inter-governmental organisation which promotes sustainable development through projects covering management of natural resources and biodiversity mainly supported by the European Union. 

The Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization

The LVFO mandate is to coordinate, manage and develop fisheries and aquaculture in East African Community and its mission is to promote Sustainable Management and Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture in the East African Community for Food Security and Wealth creation.

For more information: 

Satish Hanoomanjee, Fish Trade Expert, IOC-SmartFish Programme, 

Samson Abura, Director-IC&T, Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization,, Mob: +256 776 859 297

Toky Rasoloarimanana, IOC-SmarFish Communications Officer,, Whatsapp/VIber : +230 57433661

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funded by European Union

Points Focaux

Burundi       Comoros
Djibouti       DR Congo
Ethiopia       Eritrea
Kenya       Madagascar
Malawi       Rwanda
Seychelles       Mauritius
Somalia       Swaziland
Sudan       South Sudan
Tanzania       Zanzibar
Uganda       Zambia


Commission de l'Océan Indien
Programme SmartFish
Blue Tower - 3ème étage
Rue de l’Institut

Tel : (+230)4026100
Fax : (+230)4656798
Email : smartfish(at)