“Nine million tons of fish are caught illegally in West African waters each year” according to Dr. Henry Kerali, Country Director of the World Bank in Ghana at the opening ceremony of the communication for sustainable fisheries in Africa workshop in Accra on 29th February 2016.
By organising this workshop with AU-IBAR, USAID/Ghana SFMP and SRFC (Sub-regional Fisheries Commission the World Bank sounded the alarm by calling in the central coastal region of Ghana in Elmina, more than 140 African journalists from audio visual, written and online media from all over Africa. Revolving around « Harnessing the Power of Media to Raise Awareness on the Issues of the Fisheries Sector in Africa », the workshop trained the media professionals on why and how to raise awareness in the fisheries industry, which is currently in decline on the African continent.
The various speakers highlighted the significance of the sector by pointing out that fish is a highly and protein-based and affordable commodity which can, not only, contribute to maintain healthy populations, generate jobs, ensure food security and biodiversity, but also to boost the economy of the African Union’s Member States. However, environmental and economic consequences relating to Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU fishing) and issues of good national governance and fishing licencing have also been put forward.
The media in general and journalists in particular, can help reverse the descending trend and overfishing either through the dissemination of information collected from technical experts or through different investigations in the sector to denounce bad practices in the fisheries industry.
On that score, journalists received during this session training on the preparation of relevant articles, interviews, stories and reports, and the expansion of the information through social media.
The workshop ended with the decision and agreement of African journalists to unite around an observatory for sustainable fisheries in Africa to promote security of fisheries resources and fight against illegal fishing.