Participants at IUU workshop call for arrest and prosecution of perpetrators

A-two-day workshop to fashion out modalities to prosecute infractions on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Takoradi has been held for Stakeholders in the marine space.

The workshop formed part of strengthening the commitment of the government and industry to improve upon fisheries governance through enhanced transparency, law enforcement and collaborative management.

It also formed part of measures to streamline issues of illegal unregulated and unreported fishing and come out of European Union yellow card issued to Ghana for unsustainable fishing.

The project is being implemented by a consortium such as Hen Mpoano, Friends of the Nation (FoN), Environmental Justice Foundation, Fisheries Committee for the West Central of Guinea with funding from the Oceans 5 and Oak Foundation.

Addressing the workshop, Mr Paul Bannerman, the Deputy Executive Director of the Fisheries Commission (FC) urged the government to bring all stakeholders on board to revamp the fishing industry.

While bemoaning illegalities happening on the nation’s water bodies, Mr Bannerman said: “We see a lot of over-capacity, over-fishing, and there is too much effort on our stocks. We see that our rivers, lagoons and shorelines are degraded with plastics, galamsey in the inland water body, light fishing and use of dynamite and explosive is also affecting the marine stock.”

As part of measures to revamp the fishing industry, Mr Bannerman said the government has put in place, Fisheries Management Plan which sought to reverse the depleting stocks.

He mentioned components of the plan as the closed season which allow mature adult fishes to spawn during the period where they are likely to lay a lot of eggs thereby improving upon the fish stocks.

Another major directive the Ministry has taken is the enactment of the appropriate fishing   Gear directives where inappropriate fishing gears were no longer used to catch pelagic and semi pelagic fish.

Mr Bannerman said the gear directive started early last year and fishers were given enough time to change the illegal nets and come out with the two panel 60mm stretch.

He said: “Fishermen are now complying and about 19 or 20 vessels have left the shores since last year, between October and November and the sizes of majority of the fish caught now are very good”.

Another initiative he said was the training of more enforcement inspectors who need to understand the issues and how to operate.

He said the state of the fish stock was going down but hope to reverse the situation with good fishing practices.

A Principal State Attorney at the Attorney-General’s Department in Sekondi, Mr George Sackey stressed the need to equip the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) with resources and logistics to collate information on IUU and arrest illegal fishers.

He entreated the FEU to adduce ample evidence with the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) at sea especially in the Inshore Exclusive Zone (IEZ).

Mr Sackey called for the arrest and prosecution of the kingpins involved in illegalities in the marine waters.

A Project Officer at FoN, Mr Eric Atsiatorme who spoke on “Marine Mammal By-Catch” said FoN in conjunction with the University of Cape Coast have developed a database for the collection of cetacean.

He said his outfit had organized training programmes for fisheries, technical officers and volunteers and collected data from several communities.

Mr Atsiatorme said a graduate master’s programme for students has been rolled out to enhance in-country capacity on cetacean science and management, and that his outfit has also engaged the FC and FEU to ensure cetacean conservation in the marine waters.

The Director at the Marine Police Training School, Mr Antwi Ababio called for more support to the unit to discharge its mandate.

Source: GNA

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.