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Business News of Monday, 25 May 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Coronavirus pandemic and food security: Fisheries sector in perspective


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Correspondence from Western Region

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on human health, lives and the global economy is enormous, the World Bank has raised an alarm of the potential risk of food insecurity during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Already, food insecurity is a major issue that confronts developing countries and it is imparted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

To find out more, Daniel Kaku the GhanaWeb Western Region Correspondent interviewed stakeholders to assessed Ghana’s fisheries sector to understand the status in relation to food security.

In an interview with, Mrs Emelia Abaka-Edu, Vice President of National Fish Processors and Traders Association (NAFPTA) also said fish landings are all-time lowest and many fishers now spend more hours fishing with fewer fish catches.

"Women do not get enough fish to buy and that means Ghana cannot produce enough fish to feed the nation, therefore there is fish insecurity."

She indicated that long absence of effective enforcement regime over the years has tolerated wasteful over-capacity and widespread Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

She recommended the need for effective enforcement and high compliance of the fisheries laws as some of the key actions to take for fisheries to rebound and provide the require food security for Ghanaian.

In an interview with, Mr Kwadwo Kyei Yamoah, a fisheries advocate working with Friends of the Nation a Ghanaian NGO based in Takoradi of the Western Region, he stressed that the fisheries sector is in no position to insulate the country against food insecurity especially in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He explained that Ghana only produces a fraction of its annual fish requirements because fish landings have already fallen over the years and Ghana now imports about 60% of fish that is over US$300 million of fish each year in order to sustain the per capita annual consumption of fish (estimated at around 24.2 kg).

He explained that Ghana’s Marine fishery is in crisis and that a fish stock assessments conducted in 2017 for small pelagics reported that the stocks are severely overfished and that overfishing continues to exacerbate beyond the level of sustainability.

He noted that the importance of Ghana’s fisheries sector is being lost for the past two decades due to weak governance and this has been a major worry for stakeholder because Ghana’s marine fish stock has declined to the extent that many fishing communities are experiencing severe poverty from declined livelihoods.

Mr. Yamoah, therefore, recommended that good fisheries governance framework and practice is urgently required for Ghana’s fisheries to ensure adequate fish for food security during and after COVID-19 pandemic.

He explained that stakeholder involvement and active collaboration is crucial to achieving the intended reforms in the fisheries sector.

He noted that addressing Ghana’s fisheries crisis requires leadership by government and there is the need for stakeholder collaborative effort for the application of two cardinal approaches; Voluntary Compliance and Deterrence.

He explained that voluntary compliance includes the effort to secure the active support of fisheries resource users and their willingness to comply with the necessary legal, regulatory and management framework.

He added that key components of voluntary compliance involve openness, transparency and effective communication to carry along the users of the resource in every step in the decision making and the implementation process.

He also explained that Fisheries Deterrence involves the coercive power of the Government to enforce the fisheries laws and regulations.

It includes; the show of ability to enforce, effective enforcement, arrest and prosecution.

He said Voluntary Compliance and Deterrence will Ghana to rebuild is captured fisheries and ensure food security in terms of fisheries.

Mr. George K. Brown Amissah, a monitor with BUSAC Funds, explained that to address the weakness in fisheries governance and arrest the fish insecurity, fisher folks must be supported to participate effectively in fisheries governance, their traditional knowledge, ideas and technical skills have to be tapped for the management of the fisheries resources.

He said that will help Ghana to rebuild the fisheries resources and provide adequate fish to address the gap in fish and food insecurity.

He explained that this is the reason why BUSAC FUNDS with funding from USAID and DANIDA is supporting advocacy for effective implementation of the fisheries laws and management plans.

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