A two-day workshop aimed at equipping enforcement agencies on the Fisheries Act 2002 and Fisheries Regulations 2010, has ended at Akosombo at the weekend. The workshop organized by the Fisheries Commission in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, was aimed at educating all stakeholders in the fisheries industry on how to use the two laws. The programme brought together officials from the Ghana Navy, the Fisheries Commission, the Attorney General’s Department and the Police.
The Deputy Minister for Agriculture in charge of Fisheries, Nii Amasah Namoale said the workshop, which was timely, would ensure law and order in the fisheries sector as well as facilitates prosecution and conviction of offenders of the country’s fisheries laws and regulations.
Nii Namoale said the Government expected the fisheries industry to play a significant role in the socio-economic development of the country since it had the potential to provide livelihood for the people and to contribute largely to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The Deputy Minister, however, said due to a combination of factors, the industry had not been able to attain its full potential. He said major challenges facing the sector were issues related to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices in the industry. Nii Namoale said the situation had not only led to reduction of fish, but also loss of revenue for the development of the fishing communities.
He said it was estimated that 10 per cent of the Ghanaian populace depended directly or indirectly on fisheries for their livelihood, therefore if it was not properly regulated, it would have an untold hardship on the people.
The Deputy Minister said it was against that background that the Government took a bold step to enact the fisheries regulations (LI 1968) in August 2010 to regulate among other things prosecution and conviction of offenders of the laws and regulations.
He announced that the Government was in the process of acquiring two fisheries patrol boats at a total cost of 39,862,066 US dollars under a Suppliers Credit Agreement between the Government of Ghana and Poly Technologies Incorporation of China.
Nii Namoale said the two boats would help to police the coastal, the inshore and off-shore waters and their presence would not only reduce the high incidence of conflicts between canoe fishermen and industrial trawlers over fishery resources, but would also help to arrest those who engage in illegal fishing practices at sea including foreign vessels engaged in poaching of the Ghanaian precious fishes. The Chairman of Fisheries Commission, Mr Mike Acheampong, said the fishing industry was making a lot of strides but not without challenges.
He assured all stakeholders that the Commission was doing everything possible to remove all bottlenecks to make the sector attractive. Mr Acheampong commended participants for responding positively to the workshop and said at the end of the day it would offer the Commission a positive direction to properly steer the affairs of the industry. Captain Kofi Ankamah, Command Operations Officer, Western Naval Command, Sekondi, also enumerated challenges facing them in their operations.
27 March 11