Ghana: Fisheries ministry to improve monitoring of vessels in Ghana’s waters

Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture - Ghana.The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, has said her outfit is collaborating with the Ghana Maritime Authority and other concerned agencies to electronically monitor all vessels in Ghana’s waters.

Speaking at a meeting on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, she said her outfit through stakeholder consultations and cabinet approval, has developed a fisheries management plan for the marine sector for 2015/2019.

“The Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) undertakes electronic monitoring of all Ghanaian land industrial vessels as well as land and sea patrols leading to arrest and prosecution of fisheries offenders. Currently, the fisheries monitoring centre is a collaboration with Ghana Maritime Authority and the ECOWAS monitoring for environment and security in Africa,” she said. The move, she said is to check illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the country which contributes to environmental pollution and also endangers fish species.

The Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP)  donated four vehicles valued at about $140,000 to the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) under the Fisheries Commission, to help in the enforcement and compliance of the laws.

This is to improve deterrence of illegal fishing in order to rebuild marine fish stock as a means to enhance food security.

The government received an amount of 53.8 million dollars in 2015 to improve and ensure the sustainable management of the country’s fish and aquatic resources.

The project is meant to strengthen the country’s capacity to sustainably manage the fisheries sector, reduce illegal fishing, and increase the value and profitability generated by fish and aquatic resource exploitation.

Research vessel arrives; Nana Addo calls for end to illegal fishing

President Nana Akufo-Addo in September 2015 bemoaned the dwindling fish stock in the country’s water bodies, calling for a halt in all forms of illegal fishing activities.

He said illegal methods of fishing, as well as the over-exploitation of Ghana’s marine resources, cannot continue, as they threaten the very essence of the country’s existence.

President Akufo-Addo made this known at the welcoming ceremony of the new Fridtjof Nansen Fisheries Research Vessel to Ghana, held at the Tema Harbour. Ghana, which consumes over 950,000 metric tons of fish annually, currently imports over 60 percent of its fish.

In 2016, the country imported $135 million worth of fish because of a reduction of fishes in the sea and other water bodies. It is in light of this that the the Ghana government is receiving the research vessel from Norway to help address the situation.

The Research Vessel is in Ghana to assess the marine stock levels in the country’s waters. The vessel’s programme has been unique in training scientists and equipping them with the necessary tools to assess stocks of fishes in our waters.