World Aquaculture Society


African Chapter President's Column - December 2022

As we round up our celebrations for the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture, it is imperative that African aquaculture actors, especially producers, be recognized and appreciated for their contribution in feeding humanity and creating livelihoods for millions in Africa. We are all aware of the huge numbers of malnourished people in Africa and the potential of fish in food systems to address such malnourishment. There is no doubt that aquaculture remains key to food security in Africa.

Recent FAO statistics point out that Africa produced about 2.4 million t (MT) of fish, valued at US$5.3 billion in 2020. About 90 percent of total production comes from fresh water. Let’s also not forget that Egypt is still the leading producer, accounting for about 67 percent by volume (1.6 MT) in 2020. This is followed by Nigeria (260,000 t), Uganda (120,000 t) Ghana (64,000 t), Zambia (46,000 t), Tunisia (23,000 t) and Kenya (21,000 t). The rest of Africa produced the remaining 222,000 t or about 9 percent.

The continent has great potential to do much more, given the significant inland water resources, extensive and untapped coastlines, desirable climatic conditions and the growing political will and increased public understanding of aquaculture. We continue to see investments both small and large scale sprouting almost everywhere. The blue economy thrust, if strategically implemented and supported, has potential to catalyze aquaculture development on the continent.

Of course, there are a number of chronic challenges we ought to address along the way as we act to transform and strengthen the sector’s value chains. We are also faced and dealing with a number of emerging and unprecedented environmental threats, especially recent flooding that impacted fish farms in Nigeria (a key producer country in Africa). Fish diseases continue to threaten the sustainability of the sector. The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war is causing disruptions, especially to raw materials supply chains (i.e., fish feeds raw materials and fuel supplies), leading to high cost of doing business on many fronts.

We at the African Chapter of WAS continue to do the best we can within our mandate of providing a platform for enhanced international communications, collaboration and information exchange with the wide variety of aquaculture actors and professionals around the globe.

Perhaps I should begin by appreciating the government of Zambia for the recent approval to host the Second Aquaculture Africa Conference (AFRAQ23), which is scheduled for Lusaka, Zambia from 13-16 November 2023. Together with our sponsors and partners, we have begun hitting the road running in organizing the event. The momentum expressed in Egypt (AFRAQ21) in March this year continues to inspire us. It is our hope that many of you will be able to come to Zambia, one of the fastest-growing aquaculture countries in Africa. Details about the conference, including the brochure, are now available online I will keep updating you more on this in future columns.

The Regional Conference on Aquaculture in East Africa is now scheduled for 14-17 March 2023, at Jaramogi Odinga University, Kisumu, Kenya ( and the Regional Conference on Aquaculture in West Africa has been rescheduled to 26-29 March 2023 at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokota, Ogun State, Nigeria ( I hope to meet many of you at these important regional events.

For the North Africa region, we are scheduled to have the first Maghreb Region (North West Africa) outreach mission to Morocco, in conjunction with the International Seafood Exposition (Salon Halieutis 2023) from 1-5 February 2023. It is our hope that, during the event, WAS members and partners will meet and connect with the aquaculture community in the Maghreb region with the intention of then coming up with a strategic plan to serve this key region. Details are at www.

I am thankful to many of our partners and collaborators for inviting us to conferences, events and project activities happening in Africa and beyond. These platforms and forums enable us to build our own capacity through learning and information exchange and allow us to contribute our technical expertise and strategic thinking to finding solutions on advancing sustainable aquaculture development. The WAS African Chapter believes in stronger partnerships for this cause.

The African Chapter Regional Director for East Africa, Dr. Nelly Isyagi, and me will be attending the upcoming World Aquatic Health Conference in Pretoria, South Africa (3-7 December 2022). This is organized by the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association (WAVMA), who are a key affiliate to the WAS. I shall be giving a keynote speech on the African Chapter’s role in aquatic animal health management in Africa and hope to connect with other world-leading researchers and actors on aquatic animal health. I hope to share with you some perspectives and lessons out of WAVMA 2022 in my next column. Program details of the event are available at

World Aquaculture 2022 (WAS22) has taken place in Singapore. I was delighted to learn that over 50 WAS members from Africa registered to take part in the event, with the hope that many would be able to attend and connect with world leaders and innovators in aquaculture. The WAS 2022 Annual Board Meeting took place on the sidelines of the conference. Among other matters, there were deliberations to transform the WAS student membership and development strategies as we shift our focus to empowering youth, who we regard as the future of aquaculture development. I hope to share with you more on this and other highlights from WAS22 in the next column.

As this is my last column for year, let me end by wishing you all a blessed holiday season. Stay safe and I look forward to catching up with you again on the other side, in 2023!

— John Kilemerwa Walakira, President

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