FISHERY DEVFLOPEIENT PERSPECTIVES
Sub-Region I: W E S P ASIA and EBST AFRICA
The paper reviews trends in the produotion, trade and oonsumption of
f i s h i n oountriee bordering the Western Indian Ocean and associated
waters. Perepeotives of the l i k e l y demand f o r f i s h i n t h e sub-region
over the next 10 t o 15 yeax8 a r e a l s o presented, together with an
assessment of t h e area's potent id resources of marine and freshwater
fieh. The etudy conoludes t h a t demand f o r food f i s h in the sub-region
m double by 1985, mainly as a r e s u l t of f u r t h a r rapid population
growth, and t h a t satisfacrtion of these needs is unlikely t o be hmpered
by reeource limitations; t h e marine resources available appear t o be
oapable of yielding up t o s i x million t o m annually and inland waters
perhaps an additional 700,000 tone. The principal oonstraints t o
f u r t h e r development m e , apart from a laok of market opportunities,
t h e seriaue def ioienoies throughout muoh of t h e eub-region i n prooess-
ing, etoraga and d i s t r i b u t i o n fsloilities.
One of a s e r i e s of five sub-regional studies of f i s h e r i e s development p o s s i b i l i t i e s
i n the Indo-Pacific region, t h i s paper reviews trends i n the production, trade a d consump
t i o n of f i s h i n countries bordering the Western Indian Ocean and associated waters, The
countries included i n t h i s study of the West ~sia/East Africa s u b r e g i o n are, i n geogmphi
location f r o m e a s t t o wes
the United Arab Emirates u; Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia; Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, a
Muscat a d ban, People1s Democratic Republic of the Yemen,
Yemen Arab Republio, Sudan,Ethiopia, Somali Republic, Kenya, Tanzania Mozambique, Malagas
Republic; and Reunion, Blauritius, Comoro Islands and the Seychel l a s d.
The study also presents perspectives of the l i k e l y future demand f o r f i s h i n the suk
region over the next t e n t o f i f t e e n years, together with an aasassment of its potential
resources of marine and freshwater f i s h , as part of the bmkground f o r the discussion of
problem of formulating r a t i o n a l policies f o r the fwrther development of the f i s h i n g in-
dustries of the Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific region.
The national marine f i s h e r i e s of the East Africa/TiJest Asia sub-region am very hetex
geneous i n character and perhaps t h e i r sole common feature i s t h a t i n general the fisherie
a r e t r a d i t i o n a l small scale operations confined f o r the most p a r t t o immediate inshore
waters. With f e w exceptions, the f i s h e r i e s i n the Western Indian Ocean and i t s associate(
gulfs are, compared with most other regions of the world, l i t t l e developed. Modern, in-
d u s t r i a l f i s h e r i e s i n the sub-region are by and large r e s t r i c t e d t o the specialized explo:
t i o n of two groups of highly valued species shrimp and turn; furthermore, i n the l a t t e r
case, operations a r e c a r r i e d out almost e n t i r e l y by distant-water vessels from other coun-
I n a number of countries within the sub-region, f i s h from inland waters account f o r
the g r e a t e r p a r t of t h e t o t a l national catch, and f o r the sub-region as a whole, inland
waters represent about a t h i r d of the aggregate output of fish.
The general shortage of storage and preserving f a c i l i t i e s i n the s u b r e g i o n and the
often inadequate processing f a c i l i t i e s l i m i t the radius of d i s t r i b u t i o n of f i s h , Thus co
sunption tends t o be high i n the coastal areas, moderate i n the large urban centres and a
most non-efistent elsewhere. Thus i n the island countries of the region and those where t
greatest part of the population l i v e s within easy reach of the coast (or a lake), per cap
consumption is often extremely high but since the s u b r e g i o n includes a number of populou
countries with long d i s t r i b u t i o n channels and limited mcess t o the sea, average per capu
consumption i n the region a s a whole i s rather low and well below the world average of 11
2-1 m i n e Waters
Notwithstanding the r e l a t i v e l y small scale, generally unsophisticated nature of mar
of the fisherinr,, the t o t a l catch of marine f i s h i n the East A f r i c a h e s t Asia s u b r e g i o n
has considerably increased i n the course of the l a s t t e n t o twelve yeam; the catch i n 1:
exceeded 600,000 tons 3/, double the average annual output aahieved during the period
1959/61. 'Ailst the g r e a t e r part of t h i s increase i s a t t r i b u t a b l e t o a marked expansion
i n t'.e catch of s a r d i n e l l a i n the Gulf of Aden by the People's Democratic Republic of the
Yemen and t o the growth of the Pakistan trml f i s h e r i e s , the marine catch by most countrj
i n the sub-region has r i s e n s t e a d i l y over the last decade (see Table I).
For t h e purposes of s t a t i s t i c a l analysis, these four countries have been grouped intc
one e n t i t y , the llGulf Statesw.
Agxin, f o r s t a t i s t i c a l purposes, these four are grouped as llOceanio Islands1*.
For s o m countries i n the subregion, accurate s t a t i s t i c s of catch are not available
the estimate f o r Nuscat and Oman, f o r example, i s at best no more than an order of
magnitude, The data used f o r I r a q is based upon sample surveys of s a l e s at major
centres r a t h e r than "Offici slncatch estimates; similarly, evidence from consumer COI
sumption surveys i n I r a n suggests t h a t the actual catch m a y be r a t h e r higher than t h
S m d l pelagic species make the greatest contribution t o t h e sub-region's varied outpul
of fish. However, although i t s catch i s l e s s than t e n percent of the t o t a l , shrimp i s by
far the most valuable species exploited. The majority of the l i t t o r a l countries of East
Africa and West Asia f i s h , t o a l e s s e r or greater degree, local stoclcs of crustaceans but
the major subregional centres of output are the coastal waters of Pakistan (about 20,000
tons per annum) and the Gulf between 1ra6 and the Arabian peninsula where Saudi Arabia,
Kuwait and Iran i n particular have important trawl f i s h e r i e s f o r shrimp. In Pakistan, the
number of trawlers and other mechanized c r a f t and the extent of shore-based freezing, pro-
cessing and storage f a c i l i t i e s rapidly increased during the last decade i n response t o
credit schemes, export incentives and assistance channelled through the Karachi cooperative
i n recent years, however, output of shrimp has been maintained only at the cost of g r e a t l y
increased e f f o r t . Dsclining returns per unit of e f f o r t have a l s o l e d t o the need f o r
diversion of operations by the Kuwait shrimp f l e e t t o more d i s t a n t grounds made possible
through the n e s t i a t i o n of special concessional agreements with other countries.
The greater part of the fishing carried out along the extensive East African coastline
and the Red Sea i s basically of a subsistence, e s s e n t i a l l y inshore type, and the t o t a l
catch from these waters i n 1972 w s l e s s than 100,000 tons. The species exploited include
sardinella, seerfishes, sharks and a variety of demersal and pelagic fishes. Bottom trawl-
ing has met with l i t t l e success, mainly as a r e s u l t of the extensive coral outcroppings i n
t h i s ama and the narrowness of the continental shelf.
I n addition t o the l i t t o r a l countries reviewed i n t h i s study, c e r t a i n other nations
exploit the resources of the Western Indian Ocean. Tuna i s sought by distant-water vessels
f o Japan, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan Province, China, and since the mid-1 960' s there
has been a substantial expansion i n the catch by USSR f l e e t s exploiting a variety of specie
mostly demersal percomorphs. These l a t t e r a c t i v i t i e s i n p a r t i c u l a r have l e d t o a rapid
increase i n the Hestern Indian Ocean catch by 'tother" countries, which over 1970/72 average
240,000 tons annually and have c l e a r l y been an important influence i n r a i s i n g the catch fro;
the marine waters of the aub-region from 350,000 tons i n 1960* t o some 800,000 tons i n the
About a half of the countries examined i n t h i s subree;ional study have inland water
f i s h e r i e s and i n f i v e instances production from such sources accounts f o r the greater part
of national f i s h supplies. I n t o t a l , the sub-regional output of inland water f i s h is now
of the order of 300,000 tons per mm double t h a t achieved over 1959/61 (see Table I .
u , )
About a half of the present subregional freshwater catch is a t t r i b u t a b l e t o the
extensive inland water f i s h e r i e s of Tanaania, whose production has increased perhaps three-
fold i n the course of the last decade. I n addition t o the major f i s h e r i e s on Lake Victoria
primarily f o r t i l a p i a and c a t f i s h , and on Lake Tanganyika where a large number of small
c r a f t using l i g h t a t t r a c t ion techniques exploit tfdaaQ;a18( a small sardine-like f i s h ) there
me notable f i s h e r i e s on other lakes, seasonal flood waters, r i v e r s , ponds and swamps.
Highly productive and steadily expanding lake f i s h e r i e s are also c a r r i e d out by neighbourin
ICenya. Almost the e n t i r e catch of f i s h by Sudan and the greater part of f i s h supplies
available i n the Nala(rasy Republic a r i s e from inland water a c t i v i t i e s . In t h e former,
although a promising start has been made t o commercial f i s h e r i e s on Lake Nubia, the activi-
t i e s are e s s e n t i a l l y extensive, t r a d i t i o n a l and of low productivity; on the island of
EAadagascar, f i s h culture i n r i c e f i e l d s has become a significant source of production,
supplementing the catch from over half a million hectares of r i v e r s , streams, lakes,
lwoons and marshes.
Inland water production i n the West Asian part of the s u b r e g i o n i s much more r e s t r i c
being confined principally t o generally subsistence-type f i s h e r i e s on d e l t a i c waters, river
and reservoirs in the Sind and Punjab provinces of Palcistan and t o both commercial and sub-
sistence a c t i v i t i e s by Iraq on the Euphrates and T i p i s r i v e r s and the complex associated
network of lakes, marshes and ponds, much of whose water surface i s temporary and seasonal.
I n Iran, the resources of the Caspian- Sea, the world's largest- inland salt-water lake, are
.. . - -- t- .- - .
Ikrine, Inland and Total Catch by Count ly
'000 t o
Marine Xaters Inland I ? t e r s Total Catch
Ihvscat a.nd Oman
Yemen Arab Rep.
Tot a1 310 398 564 153 211 301 463 609 861
Principal Source: FA0 Yearbooks of Fishery S t a t i s t i c s
3 . TRADE
The sub-region's trado i n f i s h and fishery products i s f a i r l y extensive (see Tablc
A l l the countries included i n t h i s study a m , t o some degree o r other, exporters of fisl
produce and, i n aggregate, almost a quarter of the t o t a l sub-regional catch is exported
annual food f i s h exports presently amount t o over 140,000 tons and f i s h meal t o some 70
tons (both i n liveweight terms). Exports have nearly doubled i n the course of the last
t o twelve years and, with imports growing at a much slower r a t e , the sub-region has an
increasingly favourable net trade balance.
By far the most important fishery product exported i s shrimp, sold principally t o
Japan and other developed markets by Pakistan, the s t a t e s bordering the Gulf between Ir,
and the Arabian peninsula and, incmasingly, by Xo~ambiqueand the Xalagasy Republic. '
t o t a l value of sub-regional exports of crmstaceans has r i s e n rapidly and presently i s o
the order of U S $35/40 million per annm. Also of very considerable value i s I r a n ' s e x
trade i n cavias.
less valuable monetarily but much greater i n quantity, the sub-region's fishery e.
of secondary importance is dried and s a l t e d f i s h , i n p a r t i c u l a r small pelagic species c,
by tho People ' s Democratic Republic of Yemen and by Nuscat and Oman but a l s o notabl by
Pakistan and Tanmnia ( i n both instances traded chiefly with neighbowing countries 3.
Pakistan i s i n addition an important exporter of f i s h e a l , especially t o the Federal Republi
of Germany. I n r e l a t i o n t o t h e i r t o t a l domestic catches, exports by the Somali Republic,
principally of canned tuna, and by Ethiopia (mostly dried f i s h and some fishmeal) a;re of
Imports of fishery products i n t o the s u b r e g i o n are on a much smaller scale and consis
mainly of cured f i s h and canned products. Uozambique is by f a r the major importer, princi-
pally (and on an increasing scale) of frozen, canned and cured items from Portugal. import^
of canned f i s h (mostly pelagic species) are also r i s i n g i n a number of other sub-regional
countries, notably the Oceanic Islands and the Gulf States, Japan being the major supplier.
Comprehensive data upon trade i n fisheqy products i s lacking f o r some countries re-
viewed i n t h i s study and there i s l i t t l e evidence available upon which t o assess the exact
extent of s u b r e g i o n a l intra-trade, which appears t o be r e s t r i c t e d t o a c e r t a i n amount of
trade, mainly i n cured f i s h , between East African countries and between s t a t e s of the
Arabian peninsula and the Gulf.
Catch, Trade and Consumption of Food F i sh
Total Popul- Consumption
Less non Imports ~ x p o r t s
Catch food uses supply ation Per ~ a p u t
'000 tons liveweight millions kg/lve .wt .
Paki st an
Nuscat and O a
Yemen, P. DR
Yemen Arab Rep.
TO^ d. 864.7 193.7 62.8 144.0 589.8 206.71 2.9
Principal Source: FA0 Yearbooks of F i ~ h e r yS t a t i s t i c s , Volwnes 34 and 35.
Althowh the t o t a l production of f i s h i n the sub-region increased by some 85 perceni
between 196W and 1971*, t h e expanding export trade i n fishery products, the m l a t i v e l y
slow growth i n imports and the increased use of f i s h f o r meal o r other non-food uses have
all combined t o r e s t r i c t the r a t e of growth i n the supplies of f i s h available f o r d i r e c t
hwnan consumption. A t the same time, the populations of dl1 the countries reviewed i n t M
study have increased significantly, there being over 50 million more people t o feed i n the
sub-region i n 1971+ compared with 1960*, an increase of over a third. Consequently, not-
withstanding the notable increase i n the sub-regional catch, average per caput consumptior
has remained at a w r y low l e v e l ( a l i t t l e under 3 per annwn i n 4971s compared with
s l i g h t l y over 2 kg i n 1960*).
Table I1 s e t s out comodity balances indicating, nationally, recent (1971*) l e v e l s c
net supplies of food f i s h and average per caput consumption. Data deficiencies, especial1
i n respect of trade, do not permit more than a rough estimate t o be made of consumption
l e v e l s i n the Gulf S t a t e s and i n Muscat and Oman but the limited evidence available clear1
indicates t h a t consumption i n these countries, and i n the People's Democratic Republic of
the Yemen, i s considerably greater than the average f o r the sub-region. Per caput supplie
are also f a i r l y substantial i n the Oceanic &lands, especially Reunion (about 19 kg) and t
Seychelles (about 37 kg), and i n Tanzania. The p o w t h i n per caput consumption i n Tanzani
has also been pasticularly marked - i n the majority o f the r e s t of the sub-region the in-
crease i n per caput supplies has been f a i r l y limited (see Table 111).
Table. I 1
Trends i n Per Caput Fish Consum~tion
kg per atmum
1 9 6 ~ 1965* 1971*
Gulf S t a t e s
Ihscat and Oman
Yemen Arab Rep.
%b-Regi onal A rage 2.1 2.7 2-3
It should be noted t h a t expressing f i s h consumption i n terms of n a t i o n a l a v e r a s o f t e
masks considerable v a r i a t i o n s i n consumption l e v e l s between d i f f e r e n t geographical areas and
d i f f e m n t s o c i a l s e c t o r s within a country. Throughout t h e e n t i r e sub-region, wherever f i s h
is eaten, t h e r e i s a s t r o n g consumer preference f o r f r e s h f i s h . Therefore, as t h e r e a r e
serious and widespread d e f i c i e n c i e s i n storage, d i s t r i b u t i o n a ; marketing f a c i l i t i e s , con-
sumption tends t o be concentrated i n areas close t o places of production; t h e consumption of
marine f i s h e s , f o r example, i s wi-th t h e exception of a few major urban c e n t r e s -
concentrated i n c o a s t a l areas. The preservation of f i s h with i c e o r by f r e e z i n g is very
rare and t r a d i t i o n a l methods of s a l t i n g o r sun-drying ( o f t e n rudimentary and wasteful) a r e
normally t h e s o l e means of preserving both marine and freshwater f i s h f o r t r a n s p o r t t o
markets d i s t a n t from t h e a r e a of capture.
Tiloreover, i n some areas, e s p e c i a l l y i n East Africa, t r i b a l taboos and s o c i a l a t t i t u d e s
favour meat r a t h e r than f i s h . Fish consumption i n the s u b r e g i o n thua presents a very com-
plex pattern, varying g r e a t l y between countries and within countries. I n c e r t a i n areas o r
social s e c t o r s , f i s h is an important, s t a p l e food; i n many o t h e r s , f i s h e i t h e r i s r a r e l y , i f
ever, available o r i s of no p o s i t i v e significance i n l o c a l d i e t s .
A notable f e a t u r e of f i s h u t i l i z a t i o n i n the sub-region i s t h e very considerable in-
crease i n the amount of f i s h used f o r purposes other than d i r e c t human consumption; i n 1972
well over 200,000 tons (liveweight equivalent) appears t o have been s o u t i l i z e d , a threefold
increase compared with the e a r l y nineteensixties. Two main f a c t o r s have contributed t o t h i s
development - t h e rapid expansion of Pakistan's fishmeal industry, whose products are almost
e n t i r e l y exported, and t h e problems encountered i n marketing t h e very subst ant ial catches
from the fast growing f i s h e r i e s f o r small pelagic species by t h e People's Democratic Republi
of the Yemen and by Nuscat and Oman. These f i s h e r i e s a r e not only seasonal but t r a n s p o r t a r
processing d e f i c i e n c i e s compel a very large proporti,on of t h e c a t c h t o be sold, a f t e r rudi-
mentary drying, as f e r t i l i s e r o r crude animal feed.
5. IEblAND PERSPECTIVES
5.1 Food Fish
Perspectives of possible f u t u r e l e v e l s of demand f o r food f i s h i n t h e s u b r e g i o n are
slet out i n Table IV. The methods used t o derive t h e estimates a r e those described i n the
Hethodological Appendix t o t h i s s e r i e s of sub-regional studies.
The minimum values presented indicate the amount of f i s h which w i l l have t o be made
available i n 1975 1380 and 1985 simply t o maintain per caput consumption i n each country
at current (19'j'1*j l e v e l s , i.e. they r e f l e c t t h e e f f e c t of population growth alone upon
f u t m demand f o r f i s h . The population of t h e sub-region i s i n f a c t l i k e l y t o increase by
about 50 percent during t h e perioh under review, r e s u l t i n g i n an a d d i t i o n a l need of f i s h
f o r food - i f per caput supplies are merely t o be maintained -
o f some 335,000 tons (live-
weight) by 1985. The pressure of population upon demand i s l i k e l y t o be g r e a t e s t i n t h e
Gulf S t a t e s and Muscat and Oman whose combined populace i s expected t o double i n t h e course
of t h e next 15 years, and i n I r a q whose population by 1985 could well be two-thirds gPnater
than at present.
The demand f o r f i s h i s a l s o l i k e l y t o be a f f e c t e d by changes i n per caput income.
Data on past t r e n d s and therefore projected income growth are unfortunately not available
f o r a l l countries included i n t h i s study. However, such evidence as i s a v a i l a b l e suggests
t h a t , with t h e p r i n c i p a l exception of the oil-producing countrie s, f u r t h e r impetus t o
demand f o r food f i s h as a r e s u l t of higher incomes i s l i k e l y t o be r e l a t i v e l y modest. For
the s u b r e g i o n as a whole, and on t h e assumption of a continuation of present t r e n d s i n
income growth and of no change i n r e l a t i v e prices, t o t a l demand might r i s e t o about 1.14
million tons liveweight i n 1985, i.e. some 550,000 tons more t h a n at present.
Table I V
Perspectives of Demand f o r Food F i s h
tion 1975 I 980 1985
min. ma. min. max. min. ma
Pakistan 65 72 ('77) 82 (105) 35 (14
Iran 20 23 (34) 27 (48) 31 (6
f rw 44 51 (62) 61 (65) 74 (13
Saudi Arabia 31 35 37 41 45 48 5
Gulf S t a t e s and l h s c a t
and h a n 57 69 75 90 109 118 15
Yemen, P.D.R. 29 32 32 38 37 4.4 4
Yemen Arab Rep. 7 3 9 10 10 12 I
Somali Rep. 3 3 3 3 4 4
EIalagasy Republic 45 50 50 58 58 62 6
Oceanic I s l a n d s 20 22 22 25 27 25 3
Tot a1 50.9 G 66 7 2.3 7 83 922 925 117
Per caput supply (kg liveweight) 2.9 2.9 3s 1 2.9 3 4 2.9 3.i
The g r e a t e r p a r t of t h i s increase w i l l a r i s e as a r e s u l t o f s i g n i f i c a n t l y higher 1
of demand, both i n t o t a l and per caput, i n Tanzania, Pakistan, t h e Gulf S t a t e s and loiusca
and Oman. O f tho r e s t of t h e sub-regional countries, only i n Kenya and perhaps Mozambiq
does per caput consumption i n 1985 seem l i k e l y t o be notably h i g h e r than at present. Fo
t h e s u b r e g i o n as a whole, per caput consumption i s l i k e l y t o remain below 4 kg p e r annu
The e x t e n t t o rrhich demand f o r food f i s h , n a t i o n a l l y and sub-regionally, i n f a c t
eventually approximates t h e l e v e l s indicated i n Table I V u i l l probably be highly influen
by trends i n r e l a t i v e p r i c e s as well as by t h e p o l i c i e s adopted by national governments.
Tl~eformer influence is affected as much by supply f a c t o r s as demand; the p o s s i b i l i t i e s
increased supplies of f i s h i n the sub-region are discussed i n a following s e c t i o n
5.2 Fish Meal e t c,
The demand f o r f i s h f o r fishmeal i n t h e sub-region is at present l a r g e l y confined
t h e export-oriented reduction i n d u s t r i e s of Pakistan and, t o a much smaller degree, of
Ethiopia. The domestic m e e t use of fishrneal f o r livestock and poultry r a i s i n g is very
limited. l f i i l o t some countries i n the sub-rogion, f o r example Iran, plan important expa
s i o n s of n a t i o n a l poultry-raising programmes, any f u r t h e r inorease i n t h e u3e of fish f c
purposes o t h e r than d i r e c t human consumption appear l i k e l y t o r e s u l t p r i n c i p a l l y from
marketing problems associated with u t i l i z i n g large catches of f i s h f o r which there is
limited localized demand as food, f o r example the f i s h e r i e s f o r small pelagic species off
the c o w t of the Arabian peninsula and the Laks Victoria stocks of Haplochromis.
6.1 Marine Fisheries
The stocks of f i s h i n the Western Indian Ocean and its associated g u l f s are, i n
general, only l i g h t l y exploited a t present. TJhilst some countries i n the region have tciken
the f i r s t steps towa.rds the establishment of modern i n d u s t r i a l f i s h e r i e s , the g r e a t e r part
of the fishing c a r r i e d out from the coasts of East Africa and Western Asia i s generally of
low capital i n t e n s i t y and confined t o immediate inshore waters.
The major exceptions t o t h i s general s i t u a t i o n of under-exploitation are two groups
of highly valued species - shrimp and tuna. Important commercial f i s h e r i e s f o r shrimp have,
as discussed e s l i a r i n t h i s paper, been developed i n waters off I r a n and off K u w a i t , Qatar
and other Arabian States zlld along the Karachi and Sind coasts of Pakistan. IJhilst i n
general there are no signs of the shrimp stocks becoming depleted, f i s h i n g of several of
the stocks has mached a l e v e l of exploitation where additional e f f o r t w i l l not add signi-
ficantly t o the yield. For several stocks, management measures have already been introduce(
involving minimum mesh sizes, protection of nursery grounds and closed seasons. Certain
countries have also s e t l i m i t s t o the number of vessels permitted t o engage i n shrimp
fisheries. Given an extension of such conservation measures t o a l l the major shrimp stocks
in the sub-region, an aver= annual y i e l d of perhaps 55,000 tons might be maintainable.
The sub-region's stocks of those tuna which a;ra taken by l o n e l i n e f i s h e r i e s ryle
similarly f u l l y exploited but a f a i r l y appreciable increase i n t h e catch of skipjack seems
possible. Significant f i s h e r i e s f o r tuna, which involve a high degree of technical e f f i c i e i
and experience, have not been developed by the coastal countries of the sub-region and the
catch of the four major tuna species i n the open waters of t h e Indian Ocean is presently
primarily a t t r i b u t a b l e t o long-distance operat ions by Japan, Korea, Taiwan Province, China,
m d the USSR. A system of closed areas has been u n i l a t e r a l l y adopted by Japanese fishermen
t o conserve the stocks of southern bluefin tuna.
So f a r as the sub-region's major demersal and small pelagic resources are concerned,
although few areas have been comprehensively sumeyed, there i c l i t t l e doubt t h a t catches
could be expandod several-fold. Whilst Pakistan's inshore resources, except f o r demersal
stocks along the Nekran coast, are almost c e r t a i n l y already f u l l y exploited, exploratory
fishing further offshore has indicated the presence of important stocks of both demerssl
and pelagic species i n deeper waters. Similarly, whilst trawl f i s h resources i n the Gulf
between Iran and the Arabian peninsular are probably already f a i r l y heavily fished, the
international waters of the Gulf appear t o be quite r i c h i n pelagic stocks, especially
between I r a n and the I?*ucial States; i n the Sea of (>man substant id, largely untapped stock
of sardinella and other pelagic species are believed t o be present.
In the Western Arabian Sea, notable resources of small shoaling p e l w i c species -
already the subject of coastal f i s h e r i e s by Muscat and Oman and of d i s t a n t water f i s h e r i e s
by an international f l e e t of trawlers
significant increase i n exploitation.
are probably capable of withstanding a f u r t h e r
A narrow, sharply dropping shelf, intensely seasonal winds and current systems and
variable thermoclines together create unusual and d i f f i c u l t conditions i n the Gulf of Aden.
However, primary productivity i n these waters coinpsl.es favourably with other major upwell-
ing areas and the resources are believed t o be capable of y i e l d i n g i n excess of 500,000
tons of f i s h annually. About a half of the stocks a l i k e l y t o 'be small pelagic species,
especially sardinella, anchovy and mackerel but demersal species such as red snapper and
bream also appear t o be abundant. I n the Red Sea, the imgu1a.r and frequently ooraline
nature of the bottom hampers demersa3 trawling, but there a r e p o ~ s i b i l i t i e s o r some
increase i n sustainable catch, particulasly i n the southernmoat area.
The waters off the lengthy Somali coastline a m evidently of high productivity and
a m d s n t i n resources, especially the areas north of 5'~. C r u d e estimates suggest a t o t
potential y i e l d perhaps exceeding 400,000 tons of bmersal species alone; substantial re*
sources of shark, tuna and other oceanic species are a l s o believed t o be present.
The r e s t of the coast of East Africa south t o the Zambesi appears t o be f a i r l y un-
productive; the shelf is narrow, the currents strong and the steepness and roughness of
bottom makes fishing, at l e a s t with nets, d i f f i c u l t . The waters around the island of
lbdagascar are believed t o be r e l a t i v e l y r i c h i n marine resources and,.rassuming t h a t the
density of t h e stocks on the shelf region i s similar t o t h a t off the African coast, the
available potential might exceed 500,000 tons per annun. However, on the e a s t coast and
at t h e southern and northern extremities of the island, the weather conditions and curre
are often inhospitable and bottom conditions d i f f i c u l t . Bny s i g n i f i c a n t development of
marine f i s h e r i e s i n t h i s area would necessitate substantial investment and t r a i n i n g i n n
types of vessels and gears.
Around the Oceanic Islands and banks, resources of litsger bottom f i s h m d sharlcs h
been estimated a t n t o t a l (standing stock) of about 0.5 million tons, capable of y i e l d i n
say 250,000 tons annually.
Although abundant both i n number and species throughout most of the coastal waters
the Indian Ocean, cephalopods have received l i t t l e attention and there is l i t t l e statist:
o r other information about t h e extent of such resources ( ~ o s s ,1973). A s a rough indica
i t has been suggested t h a t production i n areas of upwelling w i l l include a substantial q.
t i t y of squid, possibly at l e a s t several hundreds of thousands of tons.
The t o t a l i t y of the potential marine resources i n the sub-region can be crudely qu
t i f i e d from the estimates presented by Gulland (1971) f o r the Western Indian Ocean area
defined i n PAO1s Yearbooks of Fishery s t a t i s t i c s ) . That area d i f f e r s i n two major respei
from the area covered by t h i s sub-regional study, the waters off South Afriua and off thc
Vest Indian coast and around Sri La,nka (included i n FAO1s %tandard1I Western Indian Oceaj
area) being excluded from t h i s study.
Adjusting the Western Indian Ocean estimates by Gulland (1971) f o r these differoncc
it is possible t o suggest, as broad orders of mae;nitude, t h a t t h e marine resources of thc
East Africa-Nest A s i a sub-region might be capable of yielding annually about 3 million t(
of demersal species, 2 7 t o 3.0 million tons of pelagic f i s h e s (including tunas and s k i p
'ack) a l i t t l e w e r 50,000 tons of crustaceans and a substantial quantity of cephalopod~
iperhaps of t h e order of hwndreds of thousands of tons) i.e. a t o t a l of same 6 million t
o r more, compared with the recent annual catch l e v e l s of about 800,000 tons.
These figures must, of course, be treated with a high degree of caution, but they I
show with f a i r c e r t a i n t y t h a t present t o t a l catches i n the s u b r e g i o n could be g r e a t l y i i
creased. These estimates together with a broad analysis of the composition of present
catches and a statement of the l i k e l y future demand from the coastal countries i a given i i
I n a number of countries within the sub-region, f i s h fo inland waters account fo;
the greater part of t h e t o t a l national catch of f i s h ar~d, f o r t h e sub-region as a whole,
inland waters are the source of about a t h i r d of the aggregate output of fish. A s pre-
viously noted, the production of inland f i s h has increased rapidly i n the course of the
l a s t 10 t o 15 years and, without doubt, these resources could make an even g r e a t e r contr:
bution t o future supplies of fish.
The inland water f i s h e r i e s of Pakistan, which presently a r e principally of a sub-
sistence, seasonal o r part-time nature, appear capable of signif i c m t increases i n yields,
given the introduction of improved techniques and appropriate methods of management. n s h
oulture operations might p l a ~ ran important r o l e i n such developnents; i n the Pmjab provinc
for example, a five-yeas plan has been launched t o e s t a b l i s h f i s h nurseries i n each d i s t r i c
and t o r a i s e the efficiency of v i l l a g e ponds.
In Iran, f i s h culture a c t i v i t i e s could similarly be an important f a c t o r i n promoting
the production of f r e s h water fish, whilst there i s also some evidence t o suggest t h a t the
output of k i l k a and other v a r i e t i e s of the trout family f'rom tho Caspian Sea could be
Tho rel&ively low y i e l d s obtained from the extensive network of inland waters i n
Iraq appear t o be due t o depleted stocks r a t h e r than t o poor potential. The indigenow
species are r a t h e r susceptible t o overfishing and the lack of appropriate management measur
has severely affected recruitment. The closing off of migratory streams by barrages and
other water regulators oporated by the i r r i g a t i o n a u t h o r i t i e s has also intorfered with t h e
normal feeding and spawning habits of the f i s h stocks. Given appropriate measures t o con-
s e m the resources and closer cooperation between the i r r i g a t i o n and f i s h e m authoritiec,
a considerable increwe i n I r a q ' s catch of inland water f i s h should be possible. Fish
culture again a l s o appears t o o f f e r notable potential.
Because of the inadequacies of present gems and boats, Sudan's f i s h e r i e s on the Wile
are linrited basically t o c e r t a i n calm, shallow waters, hardly my fishing being done i n the
main stmam of the river; considerably greater catches could be obtained given more effi-
cient vessels, methods and equipment, The upper reaches of the Nile and i t s t r i b u t a r i e s
constitute a vast area of l i t e r a l l y virgin water which, i f properly developed, could make
a major contribution t o the country's f i s h supplies. The f u r t h e r expansion of f i s h culture
a c t i v i t i e s and the embryonic f i s h e r i e s on Lake Nubia are a l s o l i k e l y t o play an important
role i n i n c m w i n g tho national catch. I n t o t a l , the potential y i e l d from Sudan's inland
waters has been t e n t a t i v e l y estimated a t a minimum of 35 t o 45,000 tons per annm. Ethiopi
possesses a number of large lakes and rivera whose substantial stocks of coarse f i s h are at
present hardly e-qloited; a potential catch from those resources of between 20 t o 35,000
tons per annwn has been suggested (FAO, 1972).
The great r i v e r and lake system of Central East Africa i s tho basis f o r over a half
of the sub-region's t o t a l output of fresh water f i s h and has capacity f o r significant fur*-
t h e r increases i n catch. Lake Rudolf, f o r example, i n the remotenorth of Ksnya, i s con-
sidsred t o be one of the more f e r t i l e of African lakes with a p o t e n t i a l y i e l d estimated t o
be at l e a s t 50,000 tons per annum. In the case of Lake Victoria, already the location of
important f i s h e r i e s by Kenya and Tanzania (and ~ g a n d a ) the p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r greater
catches are largely dependent upon continued diversification of fishing e f f o r t away from
such heavily exploited species as Tilapia and toward such species as Haplochromis, importan
stocks of which have been i d e n t i f i e d i n h e p e r waters. The marketing of large additional
supplies of t h i s species might present problems, but the stocks are believed t o be suf-
f i c i e n t l y abundant t o form the basis of a small f i s h meal industry, optimally through joint
i n i t i a t i w s under the auspices of the East African C o m i t y . Including f i s h e r i e s i n other
lakes, r i v e r s , swamps and ponds, the potential production of f i s h from inland waters by
Kenya and Tanzania could be a s high as 90,000 and 300,000 tons respectively.
In the filalagasy Republic, physical conditions e x i s t f o r a conniderable increase i n
production from fresh and braokish waters. Over 700,000 hectares of well watered r i c e
f i e l d s are believed t o be suitable f o r r i c e - c m f i s h culture, whereas at present not more
than 25,000 hectares of t h i s r i c e land are produciw fish. I b g r o v e miamps are a l s o an
important Gource of potential production of such species a s milk f i s h , mullet, shrimps and
Given the necessary technical inputs and appropriate resource management regimes, the
inland and brackish waters of the s u b r e g i o n appear capable i n aggregate of yielding perhap
as many as 700,000 tons per annm.
Catch 1971*, Resource Potential and Perspective Demand 1985
Estimated Species Composition of 1971s Catch Approximate Resource Potent
m s h i ? dne Fresh Maxine
Hater Tot $later
Pelg. Crust. Other Total Dem. Pelg. Crust. Other T
- -- - - - - - - -
- - -- - -
99 36 23 158 185
6 6 7
- 17 23
41 5 46
== ' I
men Arab iiep. - 2 6 -
- - 8 8 -
adan 21 1 - I 22 30
thiopia 1 4 15 1 0.0 20 21 20
mali Rep. - 2 3 0.0 - 5 5 -
w= 25 4 4 0.0 0.0 8 33 90
mzania 151 14 11 1 1 27 178
Wwsy Rep. 37
:eanic Is. - 4 5 1 0.0 10 10 -
The foregoing cleasly indicates t h a t the f u r t h e r development of t h e s u b r e g i o n a l
f i a e r i e s i s unlikely t o be seriously hampered by limitations imposed by the natural re-
The marine resources appear t o be capable of yielding as much as 6 million tons of
f i s h annually and inland and brackish waters perhaps an additional 700,000 tons. On the
other hand, notwithstanding the s u b s t a n t i d M h e r growth anticipated i n the sub-region's
population, domestic demand f o r food f i s h may well not exceed some 1.15 million tons by
1985, per caput conswnption l e v e l s remaining on average r e l a t i v e l y low.
There wwld thus seem t o be every p o s s i b i l i t y of s a t i s f y i n g h t u r e domestic demand
for f i s h , without significant increases i n r e l a t i v e prices and of opportunities f o r the
further expansion of the sub-region's export trade i n f i s h and f i s h products. The only
major exception appears t o be Tanzania, where the upper l i m i t of perspective demand i s very
close t o l i k e l y maximum potential y i e l d of i t s accessible resources.
Whilst increased production w i l l not be possible without considerable investment i n
improved vessels, more e f f e c t i v e gears and f i s h i n g methods, i n resource assessment and
identification, i n t r a i n i n g and i n extension services, the principal constraints t o
further development and t o the s a t i ~ f a c t i o n higher l e v e l s of consumption remain the
serious deficiencies which e x i s t throughout much of the sub-region i n processing, storage
and distribution f a c i l i t i e s .
Thus, whatever the prospects are f o r greater catohes, even the attainment of relative:
modest increases i n per caput consumption of f i s h w i l l be d i f f i c u l t without considerable
attention t o improved communications i n general and t o b e t t e r methods o f f i s h processing,
preservation, storage and d i s t r i b u t i o n i n particular. Furthermore, much of the potential
f o r increased catches l i e s i n species currently l i t t l e favoured o r which present serious
marketing d i f f i c u l t i e s . Unless uolutions are found t o these problems, very considerable
quantities of f i s h may well have t o be u t i l i z e d f o r low value, non-food purposes, t o the
Clatriment of the fishemen and potential consumers alike.
1/ Support has been expressed by the United Arab k i r a t e s , Saudi Arabia, Kuwait Qatar, ,
Iraq and l ~ ~ s c ?or the establishment of a regional f i s h e r i e s t r a i n i n g centre at Kuwait
FA0 Yb.Fish.Statist. Fishery oomodities, v 17, 25, 31, 33, pag~vas.
FA0 Yb.Fish.Statist. Catches and landings, v~ 16, 30, 32, p g v ; .
A brief review of the current status of the inland fisheries of Africa.
paper presented at t h d Committee for Inland Fisheries of Africa,
1st session, Fort-Lamy, Chad, 29 Nov.4 Dec. 1972. 1 p. (cIFA/~~/~).
Gulland, JA(~) The fish resources of the ocean. Surrey, Fishing News (~ooks). 255 p.
.. Cephalopod resources of the world. FA0 Fish.Circ., 19:5
.. The inland waters of Africa. Les eaux int6rieurea dtAfriqus.
1972 CIFA Tech.Pap., (I) t117 p