Ghana’s marine capture fisheries is said to be moving towards an unstable decline.
This, according to Paul Bannerman, Deputy Director at the Fisheries Commission, was due to over fishing and the use of unorthodox and illegal fishing methods.
Speaking to BUSINESS GUIDE at the National Network launch of ECOWAS Marine Thema in Accra, he said the fisheries regulatory law must be enforced to eliminate unprofessionalism in the fishing industry.
‘The size of fishes that the fishermen are catching is a clear case of over fishing. They are using so many things to fish which is destroying the resource,’ he said.
Mr. Bannerman called for the training of the fisher folks across the country on the negative effects of illegal fishing so they can abide by the rules and regulations.
‘They need to understand why they have to stop using illegal nets, dynamite, under sized mesh nets and carbide among others for fishing.
‘They have to also know that their future is being destroyed now and their children will have nothing to fish if the illegal activities continue. It is for their own good that they need to abide by the rules and regulations.’
Mr Bannerman said the Fisheries Commission will soon come out with an Inland Canoe Survey which will give the country a database for the industry.
‘We have not done a comprehensive inland canoe survey since the year 2000. Under the current World Bank project, we will be embarking on designing and going into the Volta Lake to undertake such project.
‘We are going to go round to make sure we count all the number of canoes and gears used on the Volta Lake. So at the end of the project we will have a national statistics that will let us know the number of fishermen, canoes, gears, dependents, areas of fishing and even the species of fishes being landed,’ he said.
He said the survey will let the fishermen know where they are supposed to fish and where they are not supposed to.
‘Once they get all these information and continue to violate the law then we will administer the appropriate sanctions. We need to protect the environment.’
Dr. George Wiafe, Project Director, ECOWAS Coastal and Marine Resource Management, said the fishery resources in West Africa are being threatened as a result of poor management practices and the ever increasing challenges from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and reduced ecosystem health.
He said Earth Observation (EO) data and services provide cost effective means of understanding ocean processes and monitoring maritime activities that promote effective management of fisheries resources.
Dr. Wiafe said the programme on Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) seeks to address the challenges of using EO data to help decision makers effectively manage the environment and its resources.