The RFIS project played an important role in the development of fisheries management in the SADC region through the collection, collation, dissemination and use of information. The project complemented and supported a number of other SADC regional projects and promoted DFID and SADC policy objectives. The goal of the project was to improve the sustainable utilisation of the SADCs marine fisheries resources that will contribute to the national economies, development objectives and sustainable livelihoods of coastal communities. The mechanism for achieving this was through the provision of timely, relevant, accessible, useable and cost effective information to improve the management of marine fisheries resources in the Southern Africa Region. The beneficiaries of the project included the national fisheries institutions of the SADC coastal Member States, the fishing businesses, coastal communities, fish workers and fish consumers in the region.
The project had five related components: 1. Building artisanal fisheries decision support systems through attachment of two regional artisanal fisheries specialists on the east coast and providing support for community and co-management fisheries management initiatives; 2. Ensuring effective fisheries information exchange by locating a regional coordinator within the SADC Sector Coordinating Unit to plan and upgrade national fisheries information systems; 3. Fisheries training through local courses and the preparation of distance learning materials; 4. Support to regional marine fisheries environmental information systems for the Benguela Current region (Angola/ Namibia/ South Africa) through the multi-donor BENEFIT programme working within the World Bank Large Marine Ecosystem project; 5. Support for fisheries information management systems for other regional organisations to promote the sustainable exploitation of shared marine resources. Some specific examples of the work carried out by the project include: