Ministry declares zero tolerance for unreported and unregulated fishing practices

Hawa Koomson

Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, has declared zero tolerance for Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing practices depleting the marine resources.

It has also intensified fisheries enforcement operations including sea and land patrols, deployment of observers on fishing vessels, effective operations of the Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) and Automatic Information Systems (AIS) to promote voluntary compliance.

Mrs Koomson gave the assurance at the opening of the 37th Farmers Day and Trade Exhibition, which begun in Cape Coast, on Monday.

The five-day Fair, a prelude to the main event on Friday, December 03, will offer farmers from the various regions the platform to showcase their agricultural produce and potentials on special days allocated to them.

The event was interspersed with beautiful and rich tradition and cultural displays as well as brassband music and dance by five of the participating regions who were billed to mount their fairs on Monday, to the admiration of the audience including Ministers of State, Traditional Rulers and MMDCs and the general public.

The Regions were Central, Western North, Eastern, Bono and Northern Regions and the others will have their turn in subsequent days, before the awards ceremony on Friday.

“I wish to assure Ghanaians that the issues related to illegal fishing practices is receiving urgent attention by government through legal and policy reviews to provide the requisite legal framework and strategic direction to improve the state of fisheries and aquaculture.

“We have also held very fruitful engagements with fishers to promote voluntary compliance,” she said, adding that improper marine management practices needed concerted efforts to reverse current trends considering the tremendous importance of the ocean to human existence.

Mrs Koomson gave the assurance that the Ministry would continue to actively engage stakeholders to take action through reforms to sanitise the sector and support fishers to enhance productivity.

It would continue to create the conducive working environment for them to engage in their fishing expeditions and extend the needed infrastructure and technical assistance to support their operations, the Minister said.

She commended the various fisheries stakeholders for being proactive in responding to operational challenges, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions associated with it.

Ehunabobrim Prah Agyensaim VI, Omanhene of Owirenkyi Traditional Area, said the programme highlighted agriculture as the backbone of Ghana’s economy and, therefore, was no surprise as all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals were linked directly or indirectly to agriculture.

The enormous potential of the sector, however, remained untapped, he said.

He expressed optimism about Ghana’s Tree Crop Development Agenda as a masterstroke, which was long overdue to promote the revival of local industries to spark growth.

“The promotion of seven Tree Crops namely oil palm, coconut, cashew, shea, coffee and mango will do wonders for Ghana just like cocoa, if not more,” the Omanhen said.

“By design, the implementation of the Tree Crop Development Programme, currently in 175 districts, has great prospects for the local economies of beneficiary districts.”

“At maturity, industries will spring up from the source of raw materials, jobs will be created and the assemblies will benefit from greater revenue to undertake more development projects.”

“Equally significant is the environmental impact of the programme. As a friend of the environment, I can assure you that the cultivation of trees is a major solution to the threat of climate change to agriculture and Ghana’s eco system,” he stressed.

He urged the people, particularly the youth, to take advantage of the various agriculture initiatives to embrace farming to create jobs and wealth.

Source: GNA

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