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Business News of Thursday, 19 October 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Fish production in Ghanaian waters decline

The Chief Director of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development says there has been a decline in fish production in Ghana from the average of 289,000 tonnes a year to 203,000 tonnes over the past five years.

Mr Michael Arthur-Dadzie said the causes of decline were being observed even though the number of fishing boats, nets and fishermen had increased.

The chief director was speaking at the closing session of a 10-day training of 100 fisheries compliance observers as part of activities under West African Regional Fisheries Project (WARFP) to reduce illegal fishing and sustain fisheries management in the country.

Mr Arthur-Dadzie, who spoke on behalf of the sector minister,said: “Total fish production has hovered around 400,000 tonnes for many years and there are strong indications, however, of decline in fish production of important fish stock such as Sardinella, even though fishing capacity and efforts have been increasing.”

Causes

He stated that the decline had been attributed to weak enforcement of fisheries laws and regulations over the years which had encouraged the use of deleterious and unapproved fishing gear and methods, but gave an assurance that “the Ministry of Fisheries has committed to implementing the WARF-P to deal with such irregularities in the fisheries industry”.

Mr Arthur-Dadzie said enforcement would strengthen governance and management of the fisheries sector, control access, reduce over fishing, and restore profitability in the industry.

He said Ghana was mandated by its Coastal and Flag State responsibilities to ensure the deployment of trained observers on its industrial fishing fleets for scientific and compliance purposes as part of its international obligation.

“Section 100 of the Fisheries Act, 2002 (Act 625) provides for the deployment of observers, and it is in consonance with the act that we had trained these observers to add to those already in the system,” he said.

Observer programme

According to Mr Arthur-Dadzie, the objective of the observer programme was to monitor the operations of the fishing vessels at sea and gather information.

He cautioned the observers to be diligent and professional about their work since any compromise on their part might render the programme irrelevant.

“You must also bear in mind the legal implications of your work since the evidence you gather on fisheries infractions will eventually be tendered in the law court in the event that that infraction has to be prosecuted and you may also be required to serve as a witness thereto,” he cautioned.

Attitudinal change

A lecturer at the Department of Fisheries Sciences, University of Ghana, Dr Angela Lamptey, who was a facilitator in the training, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said: “Ghanaian fishermen need a lot of attitudinal change.

“They know the law, they know the by-laws, they know the legal things and illegal things to do, but they still engage in them. Do the right thing, let’s fish sustainably so that we will still have a lot of fish stock to sustain present and future generations,” she said.

The Centre for Maritime Law and Security (CEMLAWS Africa) organised the training with sponsorship from the World Bank.