Stakeholders dialogue on illegal fishing

Stakeholders in the fishing industry have identified political interference as an impediment to the work of the Fisheries Enforcement Unit in combatting all forms of Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing activities in the country.

They said the situation was frustrating as some Ministers, Members of Parliament and traditional rulers condoned the illegalities in the fishing industry.

This came to light during an IUU multi stakeholder platform meeting in Accra.

The meeting forms part of the Far Ban Bo (Protecting Fisheries Livelihood) project being implemented by a consortium consisting of CARE, Friends of the Nation (FoN) and OXFAM with funding from the European Union (EU).

DSP Lawyer Sandra Akosaa Asiamah Tawiah, Head of Legal and Prosecution at the Ghana Marine Police Service, said prosecution challenges, investigation of IUU cases, payment of fines and use of obnoxious and explosive substances were some of the challenges militating against the fight against IUU.

She said in spite of the challenges, her outfit has made successful arrests of defaulters on light fishing, landing of juvenile fish, obstruction of mesh and use of chaffers involving Ghanaian and Chinese fishing vessels.

DSP Tawiah urged key enforcement agencies such as the Office of the President, fisher folks, civil society organizations, the media, traditional leaders and other stakeholders to take pragmatic steps to combat illegal fishing.

Mr Kyei Kojo Yamoah, Programmes Director of Friends of the Nation, said they would continue to promote community participation in monitoring IUU related offences.

He said IUU monitoring groups have not had the courage to deal with the issues as many of their members participated in the illegal acts.

MrYamoah cautioned IUU monitoring groups who were involved that they would face stiffer punishments when caught.

A Representative from the European Union(EU), Mr Christopher  Ackon,  on behalf of the EU Ambassador and EU Director, urged the newly inducted ICT IUU monitoring mobile application committee to take the right pictures, document, report and follow up on the illegalities in the fishing expeditions.

Nana Kwesi Agyemang IX, the Paramount Chief of Dixcove Traditional Area, called on all stakeholders to sacrifice their time and help revive the fishing industry.

He also appealed to government to subsidize the cost of outboard motors and make them available to fishermen.

Source: GNA

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