Designing Fisheries Programs in the Sobat River Basin

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The Sobat River Basin covers an extensive area stretching from northeast of Boma in Jonglei to the rivers’ intersection with the White Nile near Malakal in Upper Nile. Capture fisheries has great potential for development in the Sobat Corridor, but has remained a surprisingly neglected resource. The full utilization of the water resources is both a development opportunity and priority for security in the region.

The benefits of a fisheries industry in the Sobat Region include food security, youth engagement, enhanced cooperation amongst communities, opening up of waterways for transport, stimulation of trade and an integrated market, natural resources management, and conflict mitigation. Such benefits would contribute to an environment of greater stability in this currently volatile region.

The fisheries industry can be developed in phases: (1) first, a basic fisheries program that provides assets and support to fishers to fish and generate income; (2) second, enhancing the value-chain with support for value-added products and improved transportation; (3) third, promoting an integrated market with robust linkages to urban markets for trade, processing, and fresh fish transport. Support for the development and enforcement of government regulations overseeing trade, taxation, and natural resources need to run parallel with the gradual development of the fisheries industry.

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