Ghana is cooperating with her neighbors to combat the prevalent Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing practices in the sub-region.
Nayon Bilijo, Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MOFAD), who made this known at a conference in Accra, said the West African sub-region, particularly the Gulf of Guinea, has been identified as an endemic IUU fishing area.
That, he said, resulted in the ban on consignments of processed and raw tuna from the sub-region, including Ghana in February 2013.
In this regard, Mr Bilijo said the Ministry was collaborating with her neighboring coastal states to forge a common strategy to address the problem.
“To date, a ministerial delegation, led by myself, has visited Benin, Gabon, Liberia and Sierra Leone for bilateral talks.
“The visits are aimed at initiating discussions with the countries on the process for bilateral cooperation within the context of the various international and regional instruments on combating IUU fishing,” he said.
Mr Bilijo said the bilateral cooperation agreements are expected to include fishing access arrangements, which will make it easier for fishing companies in the respective countries to mutually obtain genuine fishing licenses from one another.
He said these bilateral agreements will also ensure that countries benefit optimally from their fisheries and aquaculture resources.
“This, it is hoped, will effectively address the problem of IUU fishing, which is seriously threatening Ghana’s tuna industry,” Bilijo said.
He said the Ministry had initiated the process to implement Fishermen Life Insurance Scheme (FLIS).
Mr Bilijo said the scheme is also expected to provide an avenue for capital accumulation in the event that no disaster occurs and will be paid to fishermen.
To ensure effective management of fisheries, the Minister said measures had been put in place to obtain up-to-date data on the state of the resources and the vessels.
Mr. Bilijo said plans are far advanced to hire a research vessel for the Fisheries Commission to conduct a stock assessment of resources in the sector in Ghana.