Stakeholders consider options to save Ghana fishing sector

FisheriesVarious stakeholders in the fishing industry across the country are considering the adoption of some potential management options to save the country’s small pelagic fishery from collapsing.

These options include ending open access, closed seasons, closed fishing areas, additional weekly fishing holidays, increased  net mesh size, cap and reduction  in the number of canoes, daily landing quota , removal of fuel  subsidies and territorial use rights.

The landing of small pelagic fishes such as sardinellas, mackerel and anchovies, are fast declining in the country due to weak governance, over-capacity and open access fishery that allow overfishing from an increasing number of boats and fishers.

This was made known at a media orientation workshop on the USAID/ Ghana Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) under which the aforementioned options have been identified and being discussed with the stakeholders including chief fishermen, canoe owners and district assemblies.

The workshop, attended by more than 20 participants from selected media houses in the Central , Western and Greater Accra Regions, was aimed at heightening the awareness in environmental reporting, the SFMP, the alarming  state of  the fisheries industry.

Mr Kyei Yamoah, the programmes coordinator of Friends of the Nation, a non-profit organization supporting the SFMP, said the various stakeholders in the Western, Central, Volta and Greater Accra Regions had been consulted and had endorsed some of the options.

He said the $24 million USAID/Ghana SFMP which was awarded in October last year, was a five-year programme aimed at rebuilding Ghana’s marine fisheries stocks and catches through the adoption of responsible fishing practices.

He said it would contribute to the Government of Ghana’s Fisheries development objectives and USAID’s Feed the Future Initiative goals of improved food security, economic growth and poverty alleviation.

Mr Kyei said a national dialogue, other consultations and massive communication, would be held after which   the chosen options would be presented to the Government for legal backing, enforcement and implementation.

He said responses from stakeholders indicated that they were concerned with the current situation of the industry and desired some change to safeguard it.

Dr. Brian Crawford, Chief of Party, SFMP expressed worry at the rate the fish stock was declining and stressed the need for stakeholders to stop the blame game over the situation and consider the adoption of options to restock.

Mr Crawford noted that Ghana had a high nutritional and economic dependency on fish, and indicated that the country’s annual yield was pegged around 750,000 metric tons with 84 percent of it from small-scale fishing.

He further pointed out that the sector contributed to 4.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product, directly employed 375,000 of which 150,000 were women and indirectly supported the livelihoods of 2.2 million people.

For this reason, he said measures must be put in place to safeguard the industry.

Mr. Thomas Insaidoo, Deputy Director, Fisheries Commission, stated that the sector had not performed to expectation in spite of the great potential due to factors such as open access fishing-property of the commons, use of unorthodox methods and unauthosrized and weak institutional linkages.

He however stated that   the Aquaculture sector was soaring, and emphasised that production had increased from 7,153.69 metric tonnes in 2009 to 38,547 metric tonnes in 2014.

He said the commission was making efforts to address challenges facing the sector through projects such as SFMP and therefore called on various stakeholders to play their roles to save the country‘s fishing industry.

He urged the media to continue to play their watchdog role and enlighten the citizenry on the state of the industry.

Source: GNA

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.