Accra (ANTARA News) - The Ghanaian government has declared a "red alert" in all forms of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing methods in Ghana, by an executive fiat.
Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo told state-run Ghana News Agency Thursday that the relevant law enforcement agencies were, therefore, enjoined to carry out the order to the letter.
Addressing a conference on Fisheries and Coastal Environment in Accra, Maafo noted that the harm caused to the fishing industry in Ghana through illegal and unregulated fishing was far worse than what illegal mining was causing to rivers, forest reserves and farm lands.
He said, over the period, there had been emphasis on voluntary compliance of the fishery laws but regretfully, most of the fisher folks had failed to heed to the call, giving way to increase in illicit fishing methods coupled with its economic and health implications.
He called on stakeholders to partner with the government to fight illegal fishing to ensure sustainable development of the fishing industry which is important to the national economy as it provided direct and indirect support for over two million people in Ghana.
The declaration came some few days after President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo called for an end to illegal fishing methods and the over-exploitation of the countrys marine resource, saying the two cannot continue as they threaten the very essence of the countrys existence.
Over the years, and especially in recent times, nearly all of Ghanas marine fisheries and some inland fisheries have been overfished.
Although population growth can be said to be a contributory factor, the "twin-evils" of illegal fishing and the over-exploitation of marine resources have worsened the already dire situation.
Ghana, which consumes over 950,000 metric tons of fish annually, currently imports over 60 percent of its fish.
In 2016, the West African country imported 135 million dollars worth of fish due to the reduction in its fish stock.