Overuse of illegal fishing methods has caused a rapid decline to Ghana’s fish stock, said James Kwabla Azamesu, a senior official of the ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, on Monday.
Azamesu named illegal fishing methods as pair trawling, light fishing, explosives, and the use of mono-filament nets. “The use of these bad fishing methods is the major setback in the industry in Ghana. They affect protein needs and render bare the resources that facilitate fisheries processes,” he said.
Under the Ghanaian laws, people are barred from using chemicals like DDT, dynamite, light and pair-trawling as means of fishing. However, the reverse is the case in the West African country at the moment.
According to Ghana Fisheries Commission, the country is among countries with the highest fish consumption in the world, with a per capita consumption of 23 kg to 25 kg, compared to the world average of 13 kg.
Ghana consumed about 968,000 tonnes of fish last year, over half of which was imported at the cost of over 200 million U.S. dollars, according to the Fisheries Commission.
With a population growth rate of 3.2 percent per annum, the demand for fish will keep on increasing yearly.
Ghananian President John Dramani Mahama established the ministry of fisheries and aquaculture development in February this year, as a try to turn around the declining fortunes of the fisheries sector.
Following the downturn of the industry, the national expectation has been that aquaculture will contribute significantly to bridging the gap between fish demand and supply in the short and medium term.
Experts say the country is in need of a blueprint to guide the systematic and sustainable development of the sector value chain.
Another latest effort from the government is providing the security agencies with necessary equipment and logistics to deal with crimes in the oil, gas and fishing industries, as the government, through the ministry, has supplied the navy with speed boats equipped with sophisticated machines to mount surveillance on the country’s territorial waters.
It has also retooled the Air Force with helicopters to hover around the waters.