A National Export Development Strategy document has cited Ghana’s over-reliance on the European Union (EU) as the main market for fish exports from Ghana as a grave weakness bedevilling the fishery sector.
It is therefore projecting export revenues from fishery products of about $1.12 billion by 2029. This will mean an aggressive value addition programme.
About 10% of Ghana’s population is engaged in various aspects of the fishing industry. Also, marine fisheries account for over 80% of the locally landed fish consumed in Ghana.
Despite these promising figures the sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product continues to plunge.
Strategic interventions including retooling the tuna fleet by scraping old vessels for new ones and establishing of export-oriented high-value fish processing factories to bring greater value to fish exported, are the way to go.
The country’s marine fishing industry comprises the artisanal, semi-industrial (inshore sector), industrial (deep sea) and tuna fleets.
The exported fish and fish products comprise mainly tuna in frozen and canned form.
Report by the Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN), revealed that Ghana imports an estimated $ 311.4 million worth of seafood and fish products.
It is estimated that import levels in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 reached $290.1 million, $349.4 million, $297.5 million and $311.4 million respectively.
The Deputy Director in charge of the Fisheries Commission, Paul Bannerman disclosed that Ghana is unable to export more fish due to the low production and the high demand for more fish in the country.
He said the demand for fish in the country is about 865,000, a volume, he noted the fisheries sector cannot meet unless it imports more fish to supplement what the country needs.
Ghana presently imports about 200,000 metric tonnes from European countries and exports around 160-170 metric tonnes.