The Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) has donated four vehicles valued at about $140,000 to the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) under the Fisheries Commission (FC), to help in the enforcement and compliance of the laws.
The two Ford Transit buses and pick-ups were funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
At a handing over ceremony held in Accra, Mr Justice Odoi, the Environmental Specialist at the Economic Growth Office of USAID, Ghana Mission, said the vehicles would enhance the mobility of the FEU to undertake shore-based patrols.
This would improve deterrence of illegal fishing in order to rebuild marine fish stock as a means to enhance food security.
“Provision of these vehicles is one of many of the USAID Ghana SFMP activities aimed at supporting the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the FC to improve regulatory compliance in the fisheries management,” he said.
“It is also to contribute to Ghana’s fisheries development policies as well as objectives and the project goal to end over-fishing and rebuild marine fish stock.”
Mr Odoi said fish was important for nutrition and livelihoods, adding that, the SFMP would ensure that people benefited from the assistance to the FEU to improve fisheries management.
Ms Sherry Ayittey, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD), commended USAID and SFMP for the donation, saying it was timely and appropriate for their interventions.
She said bad fishing practices, such as the use of chemicals and using generators to fish, create a negative environment for fishes, making them disappear.
The Minister said Ghana’s Fisheries sector was facing a myriad of challenges, including over-fishing and overcapacity, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
These had led to a drastic decline and depletion of some of the marine stocks, she said.
“The canoe fishery’s annual sardinella catch reduced to about 17,000 metric tonnes in 2012, from a record of 120,000 metric tonnes just over a decade ago. Nonetheless, the sector supports the livelihoods of over 230,000 fishers, including women fish processors and traders,” she said.
SFMP is a five-year Food Security Project, headquartered in Accra. It seeks to rebuild targeted marine fisheries stocks, which are depleted but important to the local economy through the adoption of sustainable fishing practices and exploitation levels.
The project contributes to Ghana’s Fisheries Development objectives and works closely with government agencies, fisheries authorities, policy makers and fisher folks in the entire coastal stretch of Ghana to achieve these goals.