Canoe, gear fishermen association calls for access to Information to achieve SDG 14

Canoes At Labadi Pic Credit Juliet Etefe, SOA Ghana

Members of the Canoe Fishermen and Gear Owners Association of Ghana (CaFGOAG) have expressed concern about the limited access to fisheries scientific information to artisanal fishers in fighting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU).

Such information, they maintained, was necessary to achieve Goal 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals. (SDG).

The association said the increase in global consumption of aquatic foods in the face of continuous decline in fisheries, raised serious concerns and called for improved fisheries management interventions crucial to restructuring ecosystems to a healthy and productive state, reversing the decline in fisheries and improving fish production in the shortest possible time.

These were in a press release issued and signed on behalf of the Association by its president, Nana Kweigya, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Takoradi.

The Association said the move was paramount for Ghana as she persuaded the European Union (EU) to rescind the yellow card that was issued in 2021.

The statement said transparency in IUU justice administration was critical in fighting IUU fishing.

According to the statement, the 2022-2026 Marine Fisheries Management Plan was a good attempt by the Ministry of Fisheries and Acqua- Cultural Development (MoFAD) and the Forestry Commission (FC) at rebuilding the marine fish stock which required efforts of all stakeholders in the implementation of the plan.

It said access to scientific data was equally imperative in the effective participation of fishers in the Co-Management structure to avoid the top-down approach where the government would continue to push decisions over the Co-Management structures as fishers become handicapped in the face of limited access to information to make informed decisions.

The statement indicated that after the successful implementation of the closed season in 2019,2021 and 2022, fishers did not have access to the assessment reports, leaving fishers doubtful about the benefits of the closed season.

The Association therefore recommended that Fishers were actively involved in data collection and analysis to improve confidence in the scientific data that formed the basis for the various management interventions that were implemented.

It also recommended that fisheries scientific information including biological assessment reports, closed season assessment reports, canoe frame survey reports and all other reports are shared with Fishers to enable them to participate in fisheries dialogue effectively.

The Association tasked the Scientific and Technical Committee to take steps to publish its findings and recommendations made to the FC to improve transparency and accountability.

The statement called for the Fisheries Management and Operational Committee to be reconstituted to include representatives of all identifiable national fisheries associations to enhance the participation of fishers in the decision-making process.

It called on the FC and Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) to establish a dialogue platform on IUU justice administration to improve information sharing and transparency.

The statement also entreated all fishers to comply with the fisheries laws and regulations and to support efforts to address the widespread illegalities in artisanal fisheries.

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