Miss Sherry Ayittey, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, on Wednesday inaugurated a fisheries advisory panel for the Bui Power Authority (BPA), Mangers of the Bui Dam in the Banda District of Brong-Ahafo Region.
The 12-member panel, chaired by Mr. Patrick Okrah Kwakye, the Director of Resources, Estates and Environment of the BPA, is tasked to guide the implementation of the fisheries and management plan of the Authority.
They would also work to check the fish stock assessment study of the reservoir at regular intervals and ensure proper management of it.
Other members of the panel are Mrs. Sheila Ashong, the Principal Programme Officer of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr Mrs. Rugby Asmah, Head of Fisheries, Water Research Institute, Mrs. Marian Don-Chebe, the Head of Coalition of NGOs in Water, and Mr. Sampson Mahu, the General Secretary, National Inland Canoe Fishermen Council.
Other members include Mr. Paul Bannerman, the Deputy Director in-charge of Fisheries, Surveillance and Survey Division of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mr. Julian Hynes, a fisheries expert and Nana Ha-Yaw Bosom II, Chief of Banda Bongase.
The rest are Togbe Emmanuel Kpakpa, Chief of Bator Akanyakrom, Mr. Joseph Kumah, a representative from the Bui community, Mr. Alex Kwame Krah, an elder of Dokokyina community and Mr. Daniel Domakah, a Youth committee member at Jama, a resettlement community in the area.
Miss Ayittey noted that, the construction of a Dam was always associated with displacement of people and destruction of the environment.
She said because of the lessons learnt from the Akosombo Dam, there was the need to put in place measures that would ensure that the Bui reservoir is properly managed to prevent its occupation of undesignated areas.
Mrs. Ayittey explained that fishing is a socio-cultural activity, so the BPA must ensure that the reservoir is preserved, not only to enhance the economic livelihoods of the people but also improve the eco-system.
Mr. Jabesh Amissah-Arthur, the Chief Executive Officer of the BPA, said the Authority appreciated the cooperation and support of the communities, who were directly or indirectly affected by the construction of the dam.
He said his outfit had designed and would soon implement other livelihood empowerment programmes that would bring remarkable improvement in the lives of the local people.
Mr. Amissah-Arthur cautioned the fisher folks against unauthorised methods of fishing and entreated them to fish at restricted areas of the reservoir.
The Bui Power Authority Act, (Act 740) mandates the Authority to ensure sustainable fishing in the Bui reservoir, which covers 444 kilometre square of the 400 megawatts Bui Dam project.
According to the BPA, in accordance with this mandate, it initiated the preparation of the fisheries management plan based on fish stock assessment study in the reservoir.