Government urged to make fisheries governance open, give voice to fishers
The Study, which also urged the government and fisheries related institutions to make fishers integral actors in the sector’s decision-making process, was conducted in Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal.
The Study started two years ago and focused on three main objectives; assess the fisheries sector transparency and accountability, functional information sharing mechanism and strengthening fisheries governance and enforcement.
The findings were announced at a Validation and Dissemination Workshop on Transparency and Accountability in Ghana’s Fisheries Sector held in Accra by the Centre for Maritime Law and Security Africa (CEMLAWS Africa) and Vibrant Oceans Initiative for stakeholders.
Dr Rebecca Kyirewaa Essamuah, Senior Researcher and Programme’s Manager, CEMLAWS Africa, said achieving the targeted results in Ghana’s fisheries sector demanded that fishers and other value chain players must be listened to and not just sit at the table without having a voice.
She said every effort made at management level would come towards building a sustainable fisheries and in an open governance, where people could contribute to inform policy would be the best approach for growth.
“We are not saying government is not transparent, all we are saying is that we can improve and enhance the transparency mechanism by involving them in decision-making and letting their voices to be heard and by making information more available,” Dr Essamuah said.
Some participants raised concerns of having been left out in policy formulation and implementation, adding that women most often had been overlooked.
Mr Seth Kedey, Chief Fisherman, Dzelukope and Volta Regional Chairman, Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said fishers were committed to working with authorities and solving the challenges in the sector.
“Some fishers in the country are still employing illegal ways of fishing and destroying the sea but not in the Volta Region. We have to protect the sea, the industry as country and be truthful to ourselves,” he said.
Prof Francis K. E. Nunoo, Chairman Fisheries Commission Board, said data on the industry was essential for its growth, especially as it was considered one of the least understood industries in West Africa as it was seen as an industry for the poor.
He said while Ghana had data on the marine sector, there was not much on the inland sector, adding that prompt actions were needed to curb the challenges.
“Though we are not well resourced to be present everywhere and collect data, we continue to share information with the public. Our data is often science based. You can’t interpret it because there’s always data on sampling, statistics so we explain to them before the information is released,” Prof Nunoo said.