The Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), has launched “Eco-finder,” Information and Communication Technology (ICT) device, to improve fishing activities, in Accra on Wednesday.
The mechanism that would facilitate the efficient location of shoals of fish in coastal and inland waters was donated to fishermen at James Town in the Greater Accra Region.
The project is one of the flagship programmes outside the core information technology deployment, being implemented by the Ministry of Communications, through GIFEC in line with Government policy to change the structure of the economy through the deployment and exploitation of ICT.
The Minister of Communications, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, who launched the device, said the fishing industry according to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), employed about 2.2 million people in 2010, representing about 10 per cent of Ghana’s population.
He said fishing contributed about three per cent to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and five per cent of the GDP in Agriculture.
Mr Iddrisu said: “As a significant contributor to the nation’s GDP, Government would continue to support initiatives and programmes aimed at improving upon your operations to offer the best fishery products to Ghanaians.”
He said the project, which was in collaboration with the Fisheries Commission, which is under MoFA, and GIFEC, which is under the Ministry of Communication and the Ghana Canoe Fishermen Council, was expected to support artisan fishermen in a pilot phase that covers Greater Accra, Central, Western and Volta Regions, Ghana’s fishing areas, to improve and sustain the livelihood of the fisher folks.
Mr Iddrisu said Government acknowledges the role of the fishing industry to national development, particularly offering informal training and job opportunities to people living close to water bodies.
He said: “The fisheries sub-sector serves as a major source of employment, livelihood and a way of life not only for the coastal sector but also the inland and aqua culture sector. It has both forward and backwards linkages to other economic activities with a plough back from the sector going in to finance other commerce.
Mr Iddrisu said that Government has secured $200 million for the construction of landing beach sites in fishing communities in the country.
He commended GIFEC, the Fisheries Commission and Canoe Operators for contributing to the project.
Mr Kofi Attor, Administrator of GIFEC, said the group was committed to improving marine and canoe fishing, to make the activity less hazardous.
He said about $200,000 were spent on the procurement of more devices, which were distributed among fisher folks in all fishing communities in the country.
Mr Attor noted the provision of the device would eliminate waste in the fishing industry whereby fisher folks would harvesting only mature fish and improve communication between fishermen on the high seas and inland base stations, to enhance navigation in unchartered waters.
He said personnel would be deployed to monitor and access the usage of the device and report to GIFEC.
Mr Attor appealed to the fishermen not to monopolize the device but it should be made available to all fishing groups.
Nii Abeo Kyerekwanda, Chairman of the Canoe and Fishermen Council, noted that the role of fishermen in national development could not be over-emphasized.
He commended GIFEC for initiating the project and called on Government to ensure the enforcement of fishing regulations in the country.
Mr Mike Akyeampong, Chairman of the Fisheries Commission, appealed to GIFEC to intensify efforts to promote fishing through ICT.