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COFAD Consultants


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COFAD Consultants for Fishery, Aquaculture and Regional Development was founded in 1983.

With effect from 1st January 2009, GOPA Consultants of Bad Homburg, Germany, assumed 80% of the shares of COFAD GmbH. COFAD accordingly became part of the GOPA Consulting Group. The other shareholder is managing director Suitbert Schmüdderich.

COFAD is specialised in the fields of:

Within these areas of expertise COFAD carries out studies, assessments and projects in Germany, the EU and, in the context of technical cooperation, in developing, emerging and transition countries.

Our clients are multinational organisations, government agencies and private clients.


Our contact details:

Obere Stadt 47
82362 Weilheim
T: +49 (0)881 901 15 17 0


COFAD office Weilheim

COFAD’s office in Weilheim


November 2022: Study of the Blue Economy Concept in Tanzania with Focus on Employment Potential


Seaweed farming in Zanzibar provided from team member Flower Msuya.

COFAD and its team of local and international experts are implementing on behalf of the regional programme 'Employment and Skills for Development in Africa (E4D)' a study on the potential employment and sustainable development opportunities within the Tanzanian Blue Economy sectors. This study emphasizes the main ideas of Blue Economy with an approach that strives to balance the creation of jobs and improved livelihoods with the preservation of marine ecosystems.

In addition to a review of opportunities in the traditional Blue Economy sectors including fisheries, maritime transport and tourism, this study takes a primary focus on how employment and capacities can be developed in the particular sectors of seaweed farming, fish farming and other potential forms of mari-culture. A key interest for this study is how skills can be developed in particular to increase employment in these prioritized sectors for Tanzanian youth beginning their careers in addition to promoting the involvement of women in the national sectors of Blue Economy.

This research is being conducted both on the Tanzanian mainland as well as on the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar.

November 2022: Evaluation of the vulnerability of inland aquaculture to climate change in Madagascar


Photo @COFAD: Regional Workshop

From March to November 2022 COFAD implemented the GIZ-financed evaluation of inland aquaculture and its vulnerability to climate change in five highland regions and one region on the east coast of Madagascar. They also belong to the intervention area of the GIZ-SEWOH-Sustainable Aquaculture Project in the country (PADM). The central question of the analysis was how the sector is going to be affected by climate change and what measures can be taken to sensitize the local stakeholders and governmental institutions to the importance of the topic and to adapt the sector.

More in detail, the objective of this study was to assess the current and future climatic situation by highlighting the risks and opportunities of the inland aquaculture sector with the help of the most recent climate change models, cartographical tools and stakeholder consultation in various workshops in order to improve the aim and the effectiveness of the planning of the adaptation of PADM's intervention on short term and at the respective political level in the medium and long term (based on the strategy and development plan in place).

This assessment of the climate vulnerability of inland aquaculture provides useful tools for decision-makers and will constitute an objective starting point to guide further and more detailed research in specific areas identified (via proposed adaptation measures).

October 2022: Republic of Congo: Development of aquaculture


Photo @COFAD

COFAD has carried out a feasibility study for the implementation of aquaculture in the Koilou for a private client.

The following activities have been carried out:

  1. Identifying pilot farms and hatcheries
  2. Evaluate the production potential of the areas and the existing/active aquaculture farms
  3. Evaluate the value chains and the avalability of raw matieral to feed the fish
  4. Developing a support system
  5. Defining the needs for purchase of technical equipment

September 2022: Uzbekistan: COFAD implementing GIZ follow-up phase in aquaculture and fisheries


Photo @COFAD

Stakeholders comprise of research staff at the university (Dept. Aquaculture, but also Veterinary Science) and their technicians, fishermen and fish farmers, feed producers and all representatives of the value chain in Fergana valley. Capacity building for all stakeholder of the sector has been seconded by the value chain analysis for Fergana valley and the advisory services regarding fish feed and fish diseases. Cooperation with the universities enables them to improve their own research, their students' curriculum and their advisory role for the sector. In total, five activities are currently under implementation:

  1. Cooperation with Universities (3) and capacity strengthening (scientific research institution in Tashkent (2) and Nukus (1))
  2. Capacity Building for farmers, producers and local specialists on semi- and intensive fish production systems
  3. Cooperation with fish feed producers
  4. Conduct Value Chain Analysis in three regions of the Fergana Valley
  5. Organize an international study tour for local farmers and specialists

August 2022: India: Feasibility study on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture successfully concluded


Photo @COFAD

Like in many emerging countries growth of production is the main target so also in India’s inland fisheries and aquaculture sector. Central, as well as state own funding programmes, are primarily aiming at 'boosting' fish production and consumption throughout the country, a Herculean task for a population of 1.38 billion people (with many of them below or close to the poverty line). The one-sided orientation on production growth explains why environmental and social aspects - although partly included in the national funding programmes - are of minor importance. Most of the aquaculture-related stakeholders in research or governmental institutions are influenced by this mind-set. The KfW programme with its holistic approach including the orientation along the 10 FAO agroecology principles as well as the foreseen multi-level interactions could have the potential to influence this one-sided orientation.

The design of the Indo-German FC Programme aimed at:

  1. integration of entrepreneurial skills into the value chain development using a scale of economy effects, applying fair benefit-sharing models with the target groups, and increased sustainability and reduction of post-harvest losses by efficiency gains
  2. aggregation of producers linking value chain actors backwards and forward, selling hygienic fish products where possible directly from the farm to the end consumer, and ideally with a label/brand of origin
  3. stepwise reducing the dependency on regular subsidies for the target group by proper business planning and management
  4. the establishment of resilient and climate adaptive fish production systems
  5. stepwise preparing value chain projects for domestic market certification by the mandatory introduction of a record-keeping, documentation and traceability system along the supply chain

June 2022: Mauritania - Improving school meals with locally caught fish from artisanal fisheries


Photo @COFAD

AFC (lead) and COFAD conduct a GIZ project identification study regarding the potential of introducing locally caught fish from Mauritanian shores in the school meals of the country

There are more than 50.000 pupils between 6 and 12 years of age who are not regularly supplied with meals at school. While the WFP has conducted a trial phase with imported meals it is the scope of this study to identify how locally caught fish (small pelagic species like sardines and mackerel species) can be used regularly for feeding school children. This would at one hand improve protein nutrition of small children and on the other hand create new income source for artisanal fishermen and women mainly working in the processing and sales segment.

June 2022: New staff for COFAD


Photo @COFAD

We are very happy to welcome our new staff member Aidan Conrad who is joining us as a junior consultant for oceans and coast.

Aidan is mainly going to support us with:

  • Technical and administrative Coordination of projects in acquisition and implementation and
  • Research work and technical contributions, with focus the fields of fisheries, maritime affairs, aquaculture, and socio-economy

May 2022: COFAD Internal Workshop from 18th to the 20th of May


Photo @COFAD

As the company is growing and some staff working from other places in Europe it was an important event for the team to meet in person and exchange on many questions which had accumulated in the past two years under the pandemic restrictions. The objectives of the workshop covered a wide range of topics from getting to know each other better, strengthening team culture and identification with COFAD, agreeing on future business positioning and the revision of the internal organization and processes.

Last but not least having fun was not neglected! A wonderful accommodation at Hotel Angerbräu, the fantastic scenery of the alpine panorama and joint dinners at the local Italian and traditional Bavarian restaurants made this event a much appreciated change from the 'normal'

April 2022: Madagascar - Sustainable Aquaculture Project successfully concluded


Photo @COFAD Carp aquaculture in the Highlands

The objective of the GIZ Sustainable Aquaculture Project in Madagascar (PADM) was to support the development of sustainable and economically profitable aquaculture in targeted regions in order to increase the availability of fish for the most vulnerable and to increase the incomes of the operators concerned. The implementation of the component B "Aquaculture in Ponds" of the MDAP was awarded to the COFAD/GOPA consortium which proposed a program of activities whose specific objectives were to increase:

  • Fish production by pond fish farmers;
  • The number of jobs in the value chain of the pond aquaculture sector;
  • And the production of quality fingerlings by local hatcheries.

Component B of the PADM project targeted the Analamanga region, a region of the Malagasy Highlands located at an altitude of more than 1,000 meters and which includes the country's capital, Antananarivo (1,339 m above sea level). This region covers an area of 17,445 km², which is 3% of the surface of Madagascar. In this high-altitude region, the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is the most adapted species, especially to the low temperatures recorded during the southern winter, from May to August. Even if the growth of the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) is only possible from September to April, the fish farmers practice its breeding because of the strong demand of the consumers, notably on the markets of the capital. Even if the pond is the main rearing system used by fish farmers, tilapia rearing in cages is also developed in some natural and artificial water bodies. Cage farming concerns only 5% of fish farmers in this region.

The technical supervision and training activities carried out by the COFAD team between 2018 and 2021 have made it possible to strengthen the technical skills of fish farmers in the Analamanga region and to set up a supply of quality inputs, particularly feed for aquaculture. In partnership with fish farmers, the COFAD team has also developed new technical approaches adapted to the social, economic and environmental context of this highland region. These approaches have allowed the development of technical-economic modules and technical sheets on carp and tilapia reproduction, carp and tilapia pond culture, carp culture in pens and tilapia culture in cages.

As part of its activities, the COFAD team trained 1650 people, the majority of whom were fish farmers (1155) but also technicians, government officials, researchers, farmers, value chain actors, etc. The production of carp and tilapia fingerlings increased from 3.2 to 11 million per breeding season. The productivity of fish farmers' ponds in the Analamanga region increased from an average of 350 to 1,500 kg/ha/year. This increase in activity among fish farmers has led to the creation of 215 full-time equivalent jobs, including 131 jobs for women and 84 for men. The technical assistance provided by the COFAD team to industrialists involved in the production of aquaculture feed has contributed to the structuring and development of feed supply networks for fish farmers, as well as to the strengthening of local feed production with the installation of a feed extrusion line in one of the private companies. These actions in the aquaculture feed sector benefit all fish farmers in Madagascar and not only those in the Analamanga region.

January 2022: Malawi project is running smoothly with great impact


Photo @COFAD: Hatchery producer using hapas, Malawi

COFAD in consortium with GOPA and UMODZI is successfully starting the fourth year of implementation of the GIZ ‘Aquaculture Value Chain Project’ in Malawi (AVCP) within the SEWOH initiative which promotes the end of hunger and access to good nutrition sources for livelihood. COFAD has been entrusted with provision of training of trainers (ToT), technical aquaculture training for hatchery operators and growth-out farmers, and training in organisational development for Fish Farmer Groups while ensuring sustainability of the activities, local ownership and capacity building within the value chain

Since August 2019 the COFAD team with support of the trainer of trainers have conducted about 800 trainings in technical aquaculture for about 6.000 fish farmers country-wide stimulating and enhancing the knowledge of sustainable fish farming among the farmers. The Hands-on training and the subsequent coaching have been greatly supported by local NGOs, namely ASUD in the northern region, AEM in the southern region and KAWJO in the central region (feel free to read: ) . Furthermore, about 50 selected farmers have received training in best management practice to serve as modal farmer and extension service for fellow farmer and in hatchery operations enhancing the availability of quality fingerlings within the sector. This year the hatcheries will be producing fingerlings for the second time with great acceptance by the fellow farmers.

In addition 144 selected Fish Farmer Groups have been trained in organisational development improving horizontal cooperation among farmers enhancing improve access to inputs and to increase their production and income.


For more information, please contact:

January 2022: COFAD-led consortium started implementing FAMENET


Photo @COFAD

A consortium led by COFAD and further including DevNet EEIG, GOPA Com. and M&E Factory started implementing the new FAMENET Support Unit in January 2022.

The overall aim of the FAMENET Support Unit is to assist and support the European Commission, Member States and other stakeholders in the implementation of the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) 2021 to 2027 as well as the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) 2014 to 2020, the latter in what regards its completion and ex-post evaluation methodologies.

Specific tasks are to support the implementation of three pillars:

  1. Monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the EMFAF and the EMFF and providing the Commission with regular updates and analysis of the state of play of the implementation of the funds. The unit should support capacity building across the Member States and in the Commission, on evaluation and monitoring methodologies, indicators and good practices.
  2. Support Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) in fisheries and aquaculture areas and (Fisheries) Local Action Groups in these areas.
  3. Support the Commission on communication and visibility of the EMFAF including the activities carried out with Member States in the framework of the INFORM EU network related to the communication and visibility of the EMFAF.

The new Support Unit is a merger of two former support units, FAME (successfully implemented by a COFAD-led consortium 2015-2020) and FARNET. It consists of 19 Core Team members and around 55 further Thematic and Geographical experts and has its headquarters in Brussels. Planned duration of the project is 6 years.

October 2021: Securing the future of inland fisheries and aquaculture in Lower Saxony


Inland and coastal waters and sea borders in Lower Saxony

In the coalition agreement agreed between the governing parties in Lower Saxony for the 18th legislative period of the Lower Saxony state parliament 2017-2021, the coalition confirmed that a holistic concept was to be developed for strengthening inland fisheries and aquaculture, [...]; existing fishing grounds, water rights and production areas are to be secured and that the profession is of great importance for the preservation of Lower Saxony's fisheries and must be strengthened in the areas of training, generational change and business transfers [...].

The study "Securing the future of inland fisheries and aquaculture in Lower Saxony" conducted by COFAD as the lead company together with AFC and IFB contributed to achieving these goals. The essential result of the work consisted of the availability of concepts for securing the future of the sector and its branches: a) Inland fisheries (river and lake fisheries); b) Aquaculture (cold water aquaculture; warm water aquaculture; aquaculture in closed recirculation systems). The methodologic approach comprised classic desk review, focus group discussions, online individual interviews, a SWOT-analysis based on sector statistics, scientific literature, the consideration of the legal environment and the public administration in charge of inland fisheries and aquaculture. Many recommendations were formulated under different action fields, such as enterprises and markets, sectoral policy, administration – science – education and training; sectoral self-administration; legal framework conditions.

For more information, please contact:

September 2020: Study on securing and developing coastal fishing in Lower Saxony finished

Proceeds_VMS_positionProceeds of the Lower Saxony Shrimp Fishery per VMS position

Coastal fishing in Lower Saxony nowadays faces numerous challenges, e.g. a changing accessibility of resources, mor stringent demands on the market, other uses encroaching the territorial sea, or ever-increasing regulatory pressure. In view of such challenges, the Lower Saxony Ministry for Rural Areas, Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection had commissioned a study from COFAD in 2004, which analysed Lower Saxony's coastal fishing and its framework conditions with the aim of showing prospects for a sustainable, secure existence for coastal fishing and to identify possible solutions and fields of action.

After a detailed analysis of the situation of coastal fishing, including its resources, the legal situation, upstream and downstream economic sectors, other uses of the sea, etc., the main threats to coastal fishing and existing development opportunities were identified. The analysis also provided the basis for measures to improve the situation of coastal fisheries to stakeholders in the affected areas.

In the study awarded to COFAD in 2018, the former study from 2004 ("Coastal fisheries in Lower Saxony, status and perspectives") was further developed and, among other things, concepts for securing fishing areas, increasing (regional) added value and improving the legal position of fisheries were presented in order to create added value and to strengthen the fishing communities in local development and political decisions. New topics (e.g. marine spatial planning and wind energy) that have been added since 2004 were taken into account and incorporated. The study was carried out in consultation with the latest propositions to include fisheries aspects in the amendment of the Regional Spatial Planning Programme for the German North Sea. The situation of coastal fishing was also examined in an international comparison. The development of specific recommendations for action, both for the fisheries, as well as politics, was another aim of the study.

For more information, please contact:

November 2019: New GIZ aquaculture project awarded in Uzbekistan and first mission!


Photo @COFAD: One of the pilot farms from the project in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan

COFAD and IFB Institute launched successfully the first mission of a GIZ project promoting the economic development in selected rural areas of Uzbekistan. COFAD is entrusted to support the development of the aquaculture and fisheries sector of Karakalpakstan through a range of activities in the region of Karakalpakstan (KKP). During first mission in November 2019 in KKP, two experts have been assessing the sector development since our last project (2013-2016) and the way forward for implementing this project. Further missions will take place through 2020 to establish pilot farms, conduct stakeholder trainings and support the Karakalpakfisheryindustry Ltd (KKP Fisheries Association) on fisheries management of some lakes in KKP. Aquaculture intensification and improvement of fish stocking in natural lakes will be the two objectives of this programme.

For more information, please contact:

September 2019: Our Malawi team starting trainings and engage with NGOs for sustainability


Photo @COFAD: Hands on training on sampling tilapia broodstock in Southern Region (Zomba), Malawi

COFAD in consortium with GOPA and UMODZI is successfully concluding the first year of implementation of the GIZ ‘Aquaculture Value Chain Project’ in Malawi (AVCP) within the SEWOH initiative which promotes the end of hunger and access to good nutrition sources for livelihood. COFAD has been entrusted with provision of training of trainers (ToT) and developing an extension strategy for the aquaculture sector in Malawi.

Since August 2019 a COFAD team and the 50 trainers trained over 6 month have started to train 3,500 fish farmers country-wide. Hands-on training and a coaching concept (based on an adapted SME coaching loop method) have been started with support of three local NGOs in September 2019. There is a close collaboration with ASUD, AEM and KAWJO in the three regions that allowed us to train over 750 participants in the two month of the pilot phase. We are very grateful for the close collaboration with these three local NGOs; it will ensure sustainability of our activities, local ownership and capacity building within the value chain.

For more information, please contact:

June 2019: DANIDA short-term project in Myanmar successfully completed


Meeting of the technical review team with DOF-SCF counterparts from district and township as well as with community facilitators in Dawei

COFAD has been awarded the “Technical Review of the support to Sustainable Coastal Fisheries” under Denmark-Myanmar Country Programme on behalf of DANIDA.

The team around Dr. Heiko Seilert (Team Leader) had prepared the technical review of the SCF programme between March - May 2019, which will feed into the mid-term report of the Myanmar Country Programme. During the 18-day field mission, the team travelled to four different regions of the country to visit and interview all relevant partners (DoF, officers, pilot communities, etc.) to better understand, summarise and evaluate the progress of the SCF program.

John Briege was responsible for the backstopping of the project.

October 2018: Project in Malawi launched


Lilongwe team from left to right: Moses Limuwa (driver), Chimango Kumwenda (administrator), Rotani Munyenyembe (extensionist), McChester Kaonga (driver), James Miller (team leader), Dr. Steve Donda (coordinator)

The three-year Aquaculture Value Chain Project in Malawi has been launched successfully in early October 2018 in Malawi with James Miller as team leader and Leo Godard as technical backstopper for the COFAD/GOPA/UMODZI Consortium. The team also includes 6 national/regional experts as well as administrative staff and drivers.

Technical assistance and a capacity building concept with hands-on training will be conducted through our three regional offices in Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre. COFAD staff was on site to assist in launching the project and introducing the team.

July 2018: COFAD in consortium with GOPA and UMODZI has been awarded the GIZ project „Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Malawi“ commissioned by the BMZ

Odoi Fish Farm

Odoi Fish Farm in Malawi

The consortium led by COFAD will implement the three-year GIZ project in Malawi with a budget of € 1.7 million from the BMZ. During the project period a system for technical capacity building will be installed to improve technical knowledge on the side of aquaculture producers and other participants in the aquaculture value chain. This will be achieved by curricular development, hands-on training and materials in several fields of fish production up to food security. The project’s further goals are to strengthen regional farmers associations and/or create new associations to improve the organisation of pond farmers and other operators in the value chain. The project starts in September 2018 and will be completed in October 2021.

June 2018: GIZ aquaculture study in Georgia, trout farming assessment successfully completed


Photo @COFAD: Typical Georgian trout hatchery of the Batumi Region/ Georgia, supported by COFAD

COFAD completed the study commissioned by GIZ “Support to the Development of the Trout Farming Sector in Adjara, Georgia”. During the project period a drastic decrease in numbers of trout farms, from initially 150 (2015) to 40 (2017/18), was observed. Limited professional knowledge, new and undetermined diseases, inbreeding of broodstock, and increased price for fish feed were identified as main causes for the decrease in farm numbers. The lack of laboratories capable of identifying virus diseases hampers the identification of viral pathogens and appropriate management. Regularly organized short trainings of farmers improved their technical skills; however ongoing technical support is needed and recommended (e.g. extension services).

For more information, please contact:

June 2018: New staff for COFAD

John Briege

John Briege

COFAD has expanded its staff and hired John Briege as a new employee. John holds a degree in fishery biology from the Humboldt University of Berlin, where he completed the international master's program Fish Biology, Fisheries and Aquaculture. During his studies, he dealt primarily with conservation issues (fishing-induced evolution, invasive species). In addition, John has practical knowledge in aquaculture, which he could strengthen by working with a producer of European perch (Perca fluviatilis). His theoretical knowledge and practical experience will help to increase our competence.

May 2018: International consortium including COFAD won the project "Technical Assistance to ECOWAS for Improved Regional Fisheries Governance in Western Africa Programme (PESCAO)"


From left to right: Dr Amadou Tall (team leader), Ms Ijeoma Chukwuma (project assistant), Mr Celestin Mboukem (finance and administration)

GOPA Consultants in consortium with Agrotec, NFDS and COFAD is awarded a 4 year project funded by the European Union. The project started on mid-September in Abuja/Nigeria at ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), Directorate of Agriculture and Rural Development.

COFAD will contribute technical knowledge and assist in backstopping and the identification of short-term experts.

The project aims to:

  1. Develop an understanding of the regional fisheries issues,
  2. draft and adopt a regional fisheries and aquaculture policy at ECOWAS level for better integration of fisheries issues in regional policies,
  3. define, consolidate and operate an institutional anchorage between Regional Economic Communities (ECOWAS and WAEMU) and Regional Fisheries Bodies (SRFC and FCWC),
  4. develop a network of stakeholders at ECOWAS level, and
  5. reinforce coordination between fisheries projects and donors in Western Africa.

February 2018: GOPA Group Units GED, STATS, AFC and COFAD successfully joined forces to support the ongoing GIZ project 'Support for the Implementation of the Myanmar Trade Development Programme (TDP)' by providing a short-term expert pool

The Trade Development Programme (TDP) supports both the public and private sector to take advantage of new trading opportunities and to create sustainable economic growth in Myanmar. It is implemented by GIZ on behalf of the EU with a budget of €10 million, plus €500,000 in co-funding from the BMZ. Its goals are to support the reform of trade policies, improve customs procedures, promote exports, and ensure quality standards for food safety and consumer protection - and these are to be attained by strengthening human capacities and institutional, political and technical framework conditions.

This support intervention is essentially a short-term expert pool with 1,300 expert days, for the last nine months of the TDP that started in January 2015 and runs until August 2018. Experts mobilised by our consortium will cover the following four components:

  1. Trade Reform
  2. Trade Faciliation
  3. Food Safety and SPS Measures
  4. National Quality Infrastructure

December 2017: COFAD in consortium with GOPA has been awarded a 3 years project component in Madagascar by GIZ


Aquaculture in Madagascar

COFAD in consortium with GOPA has been awarded a 3 years project component in Madagascar by GIZ. The project component "pond aquaculture" is part of the country package "Development of Sustainable Freshwater Aquaculture in Madagascar" (CP MAD) under the "Global Program Support to Sustainable Fishery and Aquaculture (GV Fish). It is part of the special initiative "One World - No Hunger (SEWOH)" of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.

Aim of the project is to develop the freshwater aquaculture sector in the highlands of Madagascar. The inception phase will last 6 months starting in December; the milestones and focus areas of the project will be determined in this phase.

The CP MAD consists of 3 actions areas divided between the French NGO APDRA, GIZ and private consultancy (COFAD):

  • improving the production of fish from rice-fish culture and employment in the sector,
  • improving the production of fish from pond-aquaculture and employment in the sector,
  • creating the required framework for a successful implementation of sustainable aquaculture practices.

Targets of the CP MAD are: "The undersupplied population in the selected regions in the highlands of Madagascar and in the area of Antananarivo has more fish products available and an increased income from sustainable and resource-conserving small and medium scale aquaculture production."

November 2016: Study on the trout farming sector of Georgia commissioned by GIZ

COFAD was commissioned a study on aquaculture by GIZ in the framework 'Private Sector Development South Caucasus' (PSD SC): 'SME Development and DCFTA' in Georgia'. The first part of this programme aims to assess the trout farming sector in Georgia and design a programme plan for the development and support of this aquaculture.

Georgian trout farming is quite an old sector needing some support in technology, organisation and structuring as much as financial support and veterinary care. The first field mission in Georgia is planned in December 2016 and the first report on results will be delivered to GIZ early in 2017.

September 2016: GIZ Aquaculture cooperation project in Uzbekistan coming to the end


Aquaculture in Uzbekistan

Three years after the start of the aquaculture development project in Karakalpakstan (KKP, Uzbekistan), the contract between COFAD and GIZ is coming to the end.

After several international expert missions in Uzbekistan and some training/workshops for fish farmers, COFAD designed some materials for helping the future pond farming development in KKP and other regions of Uzbekistan. Various 'fact sheets' on good aquaculture practises were designed and published for GIZ. Some educational videos on fish breeding were also edited and delivered.

August 2016: Integrated local development strategy for the Fisheries Area 'Fischereihafen Bremerhaven'


'Schaufenster Fischereihafen' in the Fisheries Area

The Fisheries Area 'Fischereihafen Bremerhaven' is existing since the EFF funding period. However, a new integrated local development strategy needs to be worked out to realise further funding in the EMFF period. COFAD, which has together with AFC Public Services GmbH (consortium leader) already acquired extensive experiences from their study on the fish and food industry in Bremerhaven, was commissioned with the elaboration of the development strategy for the Fisheries Area.

At two meetings with the Local Fisheries Action Group (FLAG) and other local stakeholders, the development objectives and the framework of actions were defined; various ideas for projects were collected. The results of the meetings form the basis of the new strategy. Further arrangements regarding the strategy were made in writing with the FLAG and other local stakeholders.

June 2016: German Aquaculture study granted to COFAD


Podium discussion 'Perspectives for the German aquaculture in the international contest'

COFAD won the tender of the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung - BLE) for a study on the development perspectives of German aquaculture and it's position on the international market. In a consortium with AFC Public Services GmbH and the University of Rostock, COFAD will carry out this study.

The study aims to understand better the different aquaculture actors by conducting surveys, a SWOT analysis, value chain evaluations, and sector interviews during the year 2016.

A final report will be drafted and sent to the BLE in early 2017.

September 2015: new staff for COFAD

Leo Godard

Leo Godard

Welcome to our new aquaculture and fisheries consultant staff, Leo Godard.

Leo graduated in France with a Master in Science in aquaculture and fisheries management. He acquired a technical background in aquaculture at a private school in France. After that, within the last five years, he carried on several work experiences and projects in Aquaculture and fisheries in New Zealand, Madagascar and some part of Asia. A sea lover and experienced diver as well, his junior experience will enhance our aquaculture competencies and our language abilities.

Bienvenue Leo!

2015: Niedersachsen coastal strategy in accordance to the EMFF


Participants of the 'future conference'

The fisheries areas of Niedersachsen North Sea continue to exist in the funding period, 2014-2020, in the same form as before. As in the previous funding period, COFAD was commissioned to establish the strategy of the territory, which creates the basis for funding under the EMFF Regulation.

During two meetings and brainstorming of over 30 actors from different sectors in the region, the development objectives and a framework were discussed, as well as ideas for projects, which formed the basis for the strategy. Some field trips over the region and different fisheries actions were also done.

The strategy was presented to the members of the newly elected local fisheries action group and finalised in a report adopted by the fishery committee.

2014: MSC certification of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern herring fisheries


Balitc herring

The majority of fisheries in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which operate with gill nets and traps fishing for herring, are currently seeking an MSC certification for this fishery. The first step on this path is the pre-assessment, which is carried out by Acoura and accompanied by the German side by the COFAD.

COFAD provided assistance in applying for funding and is responsible for communication with the English certifier, translations, research data on fisheries, environmental impact, the collection of fisheries data by the National Fisheries Office Rostock and the ministry of agriculture and nutrition and for obtaining expert opinions on the German side. The information gathered were given to the certifier in the form of text, bullet points and finished evaluations in GIS maps and images available. The first draft report was forwarded for further discussions with representatives of the fishing industry. The final report will be provided by Acoura, as expected in late January / early February.

July 2015: on going: COFAD, in consortium with its sister company GOPA Com. , has been awarded by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE), with the contract for the provision of services in support of fisheries and aquaculture monitoring and evaluation under the EMFF 2014-2020.

In the new programming period (2014-2020), the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) have adopted a stronger result orientation. This implies that the Operational Programmes of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) should be subject to regular monitoring and evaluation in order to improve their quality and demonstrate their achievements.

In line with this, the EMFF Regulation includes for the first time a Common Monitoring and Evaluation System (CMES) for the purpose of measuring the performance of the EMFF and its contribution to the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) and the EU2020 Strategy.

To support the implementation of this new requirement, the Commission has set up the Fisheries and Aquaculture Monitoring and Evaluation (FAME) initiative. Its aim is to foster the development of the CMES and to ensure that the required capacity is progressively built across all components of the CMES, so that effective and efficient systems are in place and deliver the information required by the Common Provision Regulation (CPR) and the EMFF Regulation.

In this context, DG MARE has commissioned COFAD and GOPA Com. with the establishment of the FAME Support Unit that brings together a network of experts with a wide range of experience relevant to the goals of the EMFF. The core team of the FAME Support Unit is based in Brussels and will provide support at both the EU level and in the Member States, with the assistance of further thematic experts and of geographical experts working in each Member State.

April 2014 - ongoing: GIZ project in Uzbekistan awarded

Lake in Uzbekistan

Lake in Uzbekistan

In the context of the GIZ project 'Ecological sustainable economic development in selected regions of Uzbekistan' COFAD has been commissioned for the implementation of the sub-component for the support of fisheries and aquaculture in the Republic of Karakalpakstan. The beginning of the work is planned in autumn 2014.

The objective of the overall project is to improve the conditions for a sustainable, comprehensive and ecological aquaculture and fisheries development. The main activities are focused on Carps aquaculture strengthening on hatcheries methods, sectors development, good practices of aquaculture and veterinary and sanitary services.

September 2013: Consortium with COFAD participation wins a study on fisheries and food industry/sector in the (fishing) port, 'Fischereihafen' Bremerhaven

Fishing vessels in Sierra Leone

Fish restaurants in the 'Fischereihafen'

On behalf of 'Fischereihafen-Betriebsgesellschaft GmbH', the consortium made up of AFC Public Services GmbH and COFAD started a study, which represents the current state of the fish and food industries in the area of the Bremerhaven fishing port, as well as an analysis of the existing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

After a detailed analysis, recommendations for the future development of the area have been created. Analyses were based on data from official sources, many questionnaire-based interviews with representatives of the sector and literature review. The first results of the study were discussed with the clients and stakeholders on site. The completed study was established in June 2014 in a similar event on the spot.

July 2013: Training in data collection, data analysis and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for staff of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) of Sierra Leone was provided by COFAD

Fishing vessels in Sierra Leone

Fishing vessels in Sierra Leone

To approach serious problems in Sierra Leones fisheries sector, the country intends to improve its knowledge of the potential of the sector and the level of exploitation. The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) planned therefore to strengthen the human and technical capacities of its Statistics Unit.

In this context, COFAD provided training for ministry staff on information systems for collecting, compiling and analysing fisheries data and on GIS. The training included stock assessment and the use of ARTFISH (Approaches, Rules and Techniques for Fisheries statistical monitoring) and IFDaS (Industrial Fishery Database System) fisheries databases as well as a basic introduction into GIS and its potential in analyzing fisheries data.

May 2013: COFAD-led consortium implements Fisheries Information System for Mauritania

Screenshot of fisheries information system

Screenshot of the implemented fisheries information system

The GIZ-Project "Management advice in the fisheries sector, Mauritania" aims at strengthening the capacities of the competent institutions for a responsible management of fisheries resources. One instrument for this purpose is a fisheries sector data base (Fisheries Information System).

The consortium made up of COFAD (lead) and its mother company, GOPA, was responsible for setting up a central database for the Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Economy (MPEM) and other institutions involved in fisheries research and administration.

A dissemination interface with specific access rights makes the data available to the various user groups.

September 2012 : COFAD drafts the German Operational Programme for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) 2014-2020

The German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and those Länder (Federal States) that intend to make use of EU-funding through the EMFF have decided to entrust COFAD with the drafting of the German Operational Programme (OP) for the EMFF. The Operational Programme will be the central plan for financial interventions in the German fisheries and aquaculture sector between 2014 and 2020.

Objective of the assignment is to elaborate an operational programme which

  • corresponds to all EU provisions and requirements for EMFF Operational Programmes
  • reflects the political targets and priorities of central state and the Länder

The OP includes a SWOT-analysis of the different parts of the fisheries sector as well as a description of the strategy and the measures to be supported through the EMFF. Moreover, a system of indicators is elaborated as well as an evaluation plan

May 2012: COFAD Study on economic impacts of deepening the Elbe river on fisheries published

Map Elbe Estuary

Map of spatial distribution of fishing yields in the Elbe estuary

The Waterways and Shipping Board (WSA) Hamburg and Hamburg Port Authority intend to deepen the Elbe river between the North Sea and the port of Hamburg in order to adapt it to the needs of container ships with a draught of up to 14.50 m. In this context, WSA Hamburg has commissioned COFAD in 2011 to review and update a study on the impacts of the project on fisheries. COFAD’s resulting study has now been made available for download by the Waterways and Shipping Directorate.

Feb. 2012: COFAD supports Stakeholders’ Workshop on Maritime Affairs in Athens. Together with its sister company, GOPA Cartermill, COFAD assisted in the implementation of the Workshop: Towards a Strategy for the Adriatic Ionian Macro-Region, organised by the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs and DG MARE.
COFAD provided experts in the fields of

  • fisheries
  • protection of the marine environment
  • blue growth
  • safer and more secure Adriatic Ionian space

These experts summarized the sessions on the four topics, acted as rapporteurs in the plenary session and drafted minutes. Results can be found here.

Nov. 2011: COFAD participates in MSC assessment. The German Lower Saxony mussel dredge and mussel culture fisheries wants to get certified as sustainable and well-managed in accordance with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) environmental standard for sustainable fishing. Certifier is Food Certification International (FCI). Under a sub-contract with FCI, COFAD’s Managing Director Suitbert Schmüdderich was appointed as the expert for Principle 3, Effective management, in this assessment.

June 2011: COFAD submits the interim evaluation of the German Operational Programme under the European Fisheries Fund (EFF). The programme includes all significant instruments of promotion of the fisheries sector and is financed by European an national funds. Whereas the assistance of the fish processing industry and the fleet played a central role in previous programmes, the current programming period focuses more on measures of common interest and, among these, particularly on those intended to protect and develop aquatic fauna and flora and on pilot operations. New in the present programme is priority axis 4, sustainable development of fisheries areas.

The evaluation analysed the progress of the programme as well as the achieved and expected impact so far. Emphasis was put on the estimation of the administrative effort associated with the implementation of the Operational Programme. In conclusion, a series of recommendations were developed for the current and eventually subsequent programme.

Feb. 2011: Study on the development of fisheries in Neuharlingersiel completed

Shrimp Cutter in Neuharlingersiel

Shrimp cutters belong to the overall appearance of Neuharlingersiel

Brown shrimp fishery has a long tradition in the coastal municipality of Neuharlingersiel. It characterises the overall appearance of the village and contributes to the popularity of this place among tourists.

Neuharlingersiel belongs to the most important fisheries locations on the German North Sea coast. However, the number of cutters has been constantly decreasing. Therefore, COFAD has been commissioned by the municipality of Neuharlingersiel to carry out a study on the future of the local brown shrimp fishery.

The study analyses options to safeguard fisheries in Neuharlingersiel and presents a series of opportunities for action. It is based on intensive discussions with representatives of several local interest groups and economic sectors.

Dec. 2010: Consortium with COFAD participation wins project “Monitoring of fisheries data collection” of the EU-Commission, DG MARE. A uniform framework for the collection of statistical data on fisheries has been established in the EU. Member States are obliged to gather and forward data in a standardized way to the Commission, and EU provides considerable financial resources for this purpose.

The overall objective of this framework contract is to monitor the implementation of national programmes under the Community framework for the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries sector as well as monitoring of other obligations under the DCF. The implementing consortium is formed by DevStat (Spain, lead), GOPA and COFAD.

Dec. 2010 : Bioconsult and COFAD carry out a study on the impact of deepening the Outer Ems shipping fairway on fisheries

Clip: Yields and project components map

Representation of site-specific yields and project components

The Waterways and Shipping Board (WSA), Emden, intends to deepen the Ems river by up to one meter between km 40,7 and 74,6. In this context, consortium formed by BioConsult (lead) and COFAD was assigned with the assessment of impacts of this project on commercial fisheries. Within the consortium, COFAD’s task is to deal fish fisheries economic questions.

The study covers both brown shrimp and mussel fisheries. Major sources of information are Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and logbook data, which are combined in order to determine site-specific yields.

First partial draft reports were submitted in December 2010.

Feb. 2010 : N.I.T. and COFAD present an assessment on the importance of fisheries for tourism sector

Shrimp Cutters in Greetsiel

Major attraction for tourists in Greetsiel: Shrimp cutters

Commissioned by the Water and Shipping Board (WSA), Emden, the Institute for Tourism and Recreational Research in Northern Europe (N.I.T.) and COFAD examine the importance of fisheries on the tourism sector in the localities of Ditzum and Greetsiel. Several types of surveys are carried out for this purpose, including a personal population representative survey among 2.000 German over 14 years, visitors’ surveys at the ports of Ditzum and Greetsiel and in two reference sites as well as qualitative focus group studies with North Sea coast visitors.

This assessment presents for the first time detailed information on the importance of fisheries for the tourism sector and the causal chains behind this. In addition, information e. g. on the guest structure and on value added of tourism in the localities has been generated.

The analysis shows that harbours do play an overall important role in the perception of attractiveness on the North Sea coast, with cutter harbours being particularly attractive, especially when they are embedded in an attractive locality setting and when real fishermen can be seen on their boats. It is exactly the fishermen with their cutters who confer the authenticity to the harbours, and this is what tourists are looking for.

Nov. 2009: COFAD is moving office!

After 10 years on the beautiful, but a little bit remote Gut Rösslberg, COFAD has decided to move to town. Our new office will be in Weilheim, about 9 km away from Gut Rösslberg and 50 km south of Munich. From 1 December 2009 on, our contact details are:

Obere Stadt 47
82362 Weilheim
Tel.: ++49 - 881 - 901 15 17 0.

Oct. 2009: Study on fisheries in Fehmarn Belt

Cutter at Burgstaaken

Baltic cutter arriving at the harbour of Burgstaaken

In 2008 Denmark and Germany agreed to establish a fixed link across the Fehmarn Belt. The Fehmarn Belt Environment Consortium (FeBEC) was commissioned to assess the impact of such fixed link on fish and fisheries. COFAD contributed to this assessment as a subcontractor for IFAÖ. Central task of COFAD’s contribution was the analysis of the economic situation of Danish and German fisheries in the broader project area.

March 2009: COFAD elaborates a concept for securing livelihoods of coastal fishing families in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Landing of cod

Landing of cod and other fish in Sassnitz

COFAD works, in cooperation with Fisch und Umwelt MV e.V., on a concept for securing livelihoods of coastal fishing families in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The assignment was awarded by Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (BBR) in connection with the Aufbau Ost research programme.
One component of the assignment is to evaluate if Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) as provided for within the scope of the European Fisheries Fund, do contribute to livelihood security. Moreover, selected action groups will be supported in drawing up a local development strategy and in preparing project proposals.

Dec. 2008: New shareholder composition and new management

The composition of COFAD’s shareholding has changed. With effect from 1 January 2009, GOPA Consultants of Bad Homburg, Germany will hold 70% of COFAD's shares. GOPA Consultants is the leading German development consulting firm and one of the strongest consulting groups in Europe. Since 1965, GOPA Consultants has implemented over 3,000 management and training projects for national and international funding agencies as well as private industry in more than 130 countries.

GOPA and COFAD have a long-standing and trusted business relationship and have successfully collaborated on a number of projects in the past 20 years. The acquisition of a majority share of COFAD by GOPA will strengthen the cooperation between the two companies and will increase COFAD’s productivity and competitiveness.

In addition, there are changes in COFAD's Management: Suitbert Schmüdderich became new Managing Director in November 2008. He took over from Roland Beck, who retired for health reasons. Suitbert, who has been working for COFAD since 1989, was already appointed authorized signatory (“Prokurist”) in 2004 and has thus been fully involved in the overall management of the company. Roland Beck remains shareholder of COFAD and will continue to support the company, his health permitting. This will ensure continuity in the provision of our services and in maintaining our high standard of delivery.

Sept. 2008: Support to aquaculture in Kosovo. Having successfully completed a number of previous assignments in Kosovo, COFAD once again has been commissioned by GTZ (German Technical Cooperation) with the support of the aquaculture development in the country. The focus is set on assisting the relevant ministries, supporting carp producers during a whole production cycle, training of trout producers and improving the veterinary services for fishery.

Feb. 2008: Assessment of fishery damage cause by oil spill. On 11th February 2008, as a result of a traffic accident on the federal road B10 near Hinterweidenthal involving a tanker, a part of the leaking light heating oil reached the adjacent flowing waters. COFAD was commissioned by the indemnity insurer with the fisheries specific assessment of the damage.

Feb. 2008: Support to the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (CSRP), West Africa

In a consortium with GOPA Consultants (lead), COFAD has been commissioned to implement a project in support of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (CSRP) in West Africa. Contracting organisation is GTZ.

CSRP has been formed by Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde in order to harmonise their fisheries policies, improve enforcement of fisheries rules and, by doing this, to make a more sustainable utilisation of their fisheries resources.

The German government supports CSRP by a technical assistance project. A first phase of the project has already been implemented successfully by the same consortium since 2005.

Sep. 2007: COFAD supports the sustainable development of fisheries in Turkey. The Project "Integration of Sustainable Development (SD) into Sectoral Policies", funded by European Union and implemented by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in coordination with Turkish State Planning Organization, deals with fisheries as one among five pilot sectors. COFAD staff member Suitbert Schmüdderich has been recruited by UNDP in order to provide expertise on policy formulation towards sustainable development and integrated planning in the fisheries sector.

Training on carp hatchery opertion

Training on carp hatchery operation in Kosovo

Aug. 2007: COFAD wins GTZ tender on fisheries and aquaculture project component in Kosovo

The GTZ project "Agro-Processing" promotes value chain development for selected groups of products in Kosovo. As one component, the project supports Kosovo’s fisheries and aquaculture sector. This component has been assisted by COFAD under a number of assignments since 2005, with significant success in particular concerning the development of trout production. A contract to support this component during a new phase of about one year has now been awarded to COFAD.

July 2007: COFAD participates in Study “Definition of Data Collection Needs for Aquaculture” for EU Commission, DG Fish. Main objective of the study is to identify the data required to assess the evolution and economic performance of the aquaculture sector and the best mechanisms for collecting these data. COFAD's tasks were, among others, to survey the economic situation of aquaculture in Germany and to assess the feasibility of a European permanent scheme for the collection of economic data on aquaculture. The study is implemented by a consortium led by Framian (NL).

Apr. 2007: COFAD drafts an integrated local development strategy for the Fisheries Area "North Sea Coast of Lower Saxony", Germany. The European Fisheries Fund (EFF) provides assistance for the sustainable development and improvement of the quality of life in eligible fisheries areas. One such area in Germany is the "North Sea Coast of Lower Saxony". A local group, representing public and private partners from the various socio economic sectors, has been set up to co-ordinate development efforts. To support this group, COFAD has been commissioned to draft – in co-operation with the group – an integrated strategy for sustainable development of the area. Contracting organisation is AFW Cuxhaven.

Sep. 2006: Technical assistance for the ex ante Evaluation of the Fishery Operational Programme (FOP) 2007–2013 for Romania. Romania, through the National Agency for Fisheries and Aquaculture (NAFA) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forest and Rural Development (MAFRD) and with EU-financial assistance, is currently preparing the fisheries operational programme (FOP) for the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund. The FOP 2007–2013 will be subject to an ex ante evaluation that aims:

  • to optimise the allocation of budgetary resources and to improve programming quality through independent judgment and recommendations.
  • to shed light on choices assessing the feasibility, the effectiveness of different objectives and their coherence with the overall strategy and shall take into account the relevance of objectives compared to needs and inputs.
  • to check if lessons learnt from past experiences have been taken into account and will assess the quality of the diagnostic, the expected impacts and the implementation system.
  • to appraise the community added-value and the extent to which the Community’s priorities have been taken into account.
  • to establish the basis for effective monitoring, ongoing, mid-term and ex post evaluations by ensuring that there are explicit, quantified objectives and appropriate indicators reflecting the strategic and operational objectives of the programme.

COFAD GmbH, under subcontract of Italtrend spa, provides the team leader and the overall fisheries expertise. Duration of the assignment is six months.

June 2006: Rehabilitation of tsunami-affected fisheries and aquaculture facilities in Aceh province, Indonesia. In the context of the Aceh Emergency and Transitional Aid Programme, COFAD has been commissioned by GTZ with the operational planning of the rehabilitation and/or reconstruction of the Tsunami-affected aquaculture industries and fisheries landing sites along the North-East coast of the province Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia.

April 2006: Support to aquaculture in Kosovo. After a successful completion of an earlier assignment in this field, COFAD has again been entrusted by GTZ with the development of fisheries and aquaculture in Kosovo. Focus is on training of trout producers and on the improvement of veterinary services and on-farm health management.

Jan. 2006: Ex ante Evaluation of the German Operational Programme under EFF. In 2007, the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) will be replaced by the European Fisheries Fund (EFF). The Federal and State Ministries in charge are presently preparing an Operational Programme for the implementation of the EFF in Germany. The programme shall cover the period 2007 to 2013. Before being adopted, it has to be evaluated ex ante. COFAD has been commissioned to do this by the Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV).

Jan. 2006: Impact of the increase in the oil price in European fisheries. COFAD contributes to a study on the impact of the increased oil price on the European fisheries. The study is led by the Agricultural Economics Research Institute (LEI) of Wageningen University; COFAD covers the German fleet. The study is commissioned by the European Parliament.

see also our News Archive!
Current issues

Dear visitor of the COFAD website,

After a longer (much too long) period of silence, we have published again a series of news on our web page (see middle column). The delay is due to our intensive dedication to a number of interesting projects in the last months. You will find a brief description of some of them on our site.

Besides, there have been some internal developments in our company, among others the integration into the GOPA Consulting Group, our new management and the moving of office from Tutzing to Weilheim. By doing so, COFAD has set the course for assuring the future viability of the company.

More news coming soon on our web page, that we firmly intend to update more regularly in future.

Your COFAD-Team

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