The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) successfully held its fourteenth Ministerial conference on the 13 January 2022 at the Tang Palace Hotel in Accra, Ghana on the theme “Supporting effective fisheries management for a sustainable blue economy”.
The fisheries sector Ministers of Ghana, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, and Benin were physically present at the hybrid regional Ministerial meeting to adopt recommendations developed by the fisheries and aquaculture experts of the Advisory and Coordinating Committee (ACC) from the sessions held over the two days prior.
The meeting brought together directors of fisheries ministries, and representatives of stakeholder and partner organizations including Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), The European Union Delegation in Ghana (EUD), the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), the Ministerial Conference on Fisheries Cooperation among African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean (ATLAFCO), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Côte-d’Ivoire Embassy in Ghana, Trygg Mat Tracking (TMT), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF), INFOPECHE, partners of the IFG project – Hen Mpoano, Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) and Friends of the Nation (FoN) – and various national administrations of Ghana, in person and online.
FCWC Secretary-General Seraphin Dedi, in his opening speech reiterated that cooperation and a regional approach are necessities for safeguarding existing resources and the development of the maritime economy, and blue growth in the region. Commenting on the theme of the year he stated “[we] invite States to adopt the blue economy as a pillar of economic planning, development and investment in the fisheries sector and to ensure the alignment of national policies with the ECOWAS Comprehensive Strategic Framework for the Sustainability of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (CSFS-FAD), as well as the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 14) – aiming at the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for their sustainable development.”
In her welcome address, incoming President/Chairperson of the Conference of Ministers, Ghana’ Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Hon. Min. Mavis Hawa Koomson, welcomed all participants on behalf of the Government of Ghana and Ghana’s fisheries and aquaculture associations. She praised the foresight of the FCWC in introducing aquaculture development as a new thematic area, and said Ghana was prepared to share its experience in implementing its aquaculture programme.
Outgoing President of the FCWC Conference of Ministers, Min. Sidi Touré, congratulated the Secretary General for working tirelessly as pioneer to enable the Committee to support Member States for better management of cross-border fisheries resources. He commended the Committee for achieving the signature of MOUs: one with ECOWAS and another with ILO.
High level statements were delivered by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to Ghana, H.E. Ingrid Mollestad, European Union to Ghana Ambassador H.E. Irchad Razaaly, ECOWAS Representative Dr. Amadou Tall, FAO Regional Representative Yasmi Yurdi, JICA Ghana Deputy Regional Representative Yasuaki Momita, and Fishery Consultant Alhaji Jallow.
The conference concluded with the successful adoption of the 2023/2024 workplan and budget, the 2023 annual report including recommendations to develop and implement a third phase of the Fisheries Intelligence and MCS Support in West Africa initiative; to extend regional fisheries management measures like the closed season to all countries; to support FCWC Member States to ratify ILO’s C188 to ensure decent work in the fisheries and aquaculture sector; to request support for national aquaculture projects to JICA for the Member States without one: and to start implementation of the marine spatial planning project in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) funded by Global Environment Fund (GEF).
The next conference will be held in Liberia.