A Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Francis Kingsley Ato Cudjoe, says Government is training 100 observers to be put on vessels to check and record illegal fishing activities.
They will, particularly, check Saiko, (illegal activities involving conniving foreign and local vessels) to enable them to provide enough evidence to arrest and prosecute offenders of the fishing laws.
He was speaking at the end of a three-day conference, which brought together stakeholders in the fisheries sector in Accra on Wednesday, September 27, 2017.
They included researchers, fisher folks, civil society groups, government officials, development partners, think-tanks and the private sector to identify challenges and make recommendations to rebuild Ghana’s marine fish stocks and coastal environment.
Mr. Cudjoe said drones and helicopters would also be deployed to monitor the foreign vessels and that alone would scare the people from engaging in illegal fishing once they knew they were being monitored and to be arrested.
Deputy Mission Director of USAID, Steven E. Hendrix, said preserving Ghana’s marine system was absolutely critical for Ghana’s growth because it provided employment to approximately 2.2 million people.
“There is no doubt that the preservation of Ghana’s fish stocks is important for the well-being of Ghanaian citizens,” he said.
“By adopting the responsible fishing practices, as well as reporting and preventing illegal fishing, we can safeguard livelihood and protect the declining fish stocks in the seas.”
Mr. Hendrix said through the Feed the Future project, the US government’s global hunger and food security initiative, the partners worked with Ghana and academic institutions to strengthen evidence-based policy making for the fish sector.
He said that the collaboration was also to help ensure that the fishes consumed in Ghana were healthy, free from contamination and good for consumption.
He, therefore, urged all the stakeholders to actively help in rebuilding Ghana’s fishes and fisheries as well as helping lead the transformation in all coastal fishing communities.
The University of Cape Coast (UCC) and the University of Rhode Island, in collaboration with Feed the Future’s Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP), the USAID and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, organised the conference that featured panel discussions, keynote presentations and scientific papers aimed to bridge the gap between evidence-based research and fisheries management.
Ghana’s fisheries sector is said to be in crisis with declining food stocks, threatening livelihoods, food security, nutrition and health and maritime security.