Mr Ndiaga Gueye, FAO, Country Representative to Ghana said: “Ghana’s small-scale fishery is well advanced relative to other African countries. It employs over 80 per cent of fishers in the country and a major source of food and income.”
He was speaking at a workshop on Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries guidelines implementation for Fish Worker Organisation (FWO) leaders in Accra.
The workshop was aimed at empowering the leaders to contribute to ending poverty through the sensitisation of small-scale fisher folks on the guidelines.
The guidelines among other things touch on issues such as the tenure rights and governance of the fisher folks, improvement in the life of fishers and their households through decent work and social infrastructure.
It was organised by the International Collective in Support of Fish workers (ICSF) in partnership with the Technical Services for Community Development (TESCOD).
Representatives from the Fisheries Commission and FWO, National Fish Processors and Travers Association (NAFPTA), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the National Canoe Fishers Association were at the workshop.
Mr Ndiaga Gueye said that small-scale fisher folks played a critical role in food security and nutrition, provision of an opportunity for poverty eradication, and equitable development and sustainable resource utilisation.
He noted that despite the prospects of the sector in job creation and livelihood improvement, the sector was confronted with several challenges, including gender discrimination and excessive cost of inputs.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders in the small-scale fisheries value chain to work collectively to achieve its set goals, and assured them of FAO’s support in that regard.
Mrs Hannah Agyei-Boakye, Greater Accra Regional Deputy Director, Fisheries Commission, said that the workshop was important as it would enable the fisher folks to improve their livelihood.
She commended the developers of the guidelines for translating it into different local languages, which would make it easier to be understood by fisher folks in the value chain.
She pledged the Commission’s commitment in sustaining and improving the lives of fisher folks and those in the fishing value chain, noting that they had developed some intervention programmes in that respect, including the Marine Fisheries Management Plan.
The plan is a strategic framework aimed at rebuilding fish stocks to enhance the socio-economic conditions of fishing communities, create employment, improve food security, and contribute to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and foreign exchange earnings.
She said the Commission often faced funding challenges in implementing its programmes because they worked with constrained budget from the Government.
Mrs Agyei-Boakye, however, said her outfit sometimes obtained financial support from Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) and other agencies and called for more of such supports.