Ghana has adequate laws for the management of marine fishery resources but the full commitment of all stakeholders is required to enforce them to achieve the expected benefits.
Mr Daniel Awuku Nyanteh, Western Regional Chief Fisheries Research Assistant of the Fisheries Commission (FC), has stated.
“We have several laws to back the management of the fisheries resources but sometimes enforcement is the problem”.
Mr Nyanteh, who is also a member of the Western Command Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU), said “sometimes people attempt to undermine the authority of the FEU and this practice must stop”.
He was speaking at a fishermen’s forum organised by the Anomabo Traditional Council as part of a week-long activity to mark this year’s Okyir festival, celebrated by the chiefs and people of Anomabo.
It was facilitated by Friends of the Nation (FoN) with support from the Far Ban Bo Project which is funded by the European Union (EU).
Mr Nyanteh said Ghana has reached a point where politics must be taken out of fisheries issues adding that “we need to collectively work towards one common goal. NGO’s, government, opinion leaders, fishermen and everybody including the media must play their part”.
He said as fishermen and other stakeholders are witnessing the effects of the continual depletion of the sea, it presents an opportune time for them to support all progressive efforts to salvage the situation.
He said until the fishermen changed their attitude and practise responsible fishing, they would continue to record low catches.
He expressed worry that despite the fact that some fishermen have been arrested, prosecuted and fined, Illegal, Unregulated, Unreported (IUU) fishing practises persists in many fishing communities. `
Speaking about the close season for next year, Mr Nyanteh said the FC had the capacity to enforce close season in 2019 adding that “the 2019 close season will come on and no fisherman will have an excuse to kick against it”
“We have already created the awareness in the minds of the fisher folks that without proper co-management, the sea will dry and it will affect their livelihoods,” he said.
Nana Mbroba Dabo I, Queen Mother of Anomabo Traditional Area, said the fishermen’s day was instituted as part of activities to mark the celebration of their festival to educate them on IUU practices.
She said the continuous decline of fisheries stocks was mainly due to the behaviour and attitude of fishermen and admonished them desist from bad practices and report those engaged in IUU to the appropriate authorities for punishment.
The decline in fish stocks, she said, was affecting the community socio-economically as many children have become school dropouts due to poverty.
Corporal Agyemang Opambour, a member of the Western Command FEU, urged the fishermen to voluntarily comply with fishing laws and regulations and see the sea as their own property which must be protected from damage.