Friends of the Nation (FoN), a social-environmental NGO, has identified the lack of political will to enforce fisheries laws as a major threat to food security and sufficiency in the country.
According to the NGO, Ghana’s fisheries sector has good laws and management plans, but weak implementation continues to contribute to the decline of fisheries livelihoods.
To this end, “Ghana’s Marine fish stock is overfished to the extent of near collapse and fish landings are all-time lowest”.
Executive Director of Friends of the Nation, Mr Donkris Mevuta, said this at a media engagement meeting at Adiembra in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis.
The meeting was organized by FoN with funding from BUSAC Fund as part of its implementation of a project dubbed, “Advocacy For Effective Implementation of Fisheries Laws and Management Plans”.
The project is being implemented at the national level in collaboration with the National Fisheries Association, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the Media, with the aim to promote and sustain fisheries livelihoods and secure fish food security and nutrition.
Mr Mevuta said the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 14, indicator target 14.4, stresses the need to effectively regulate harvesting and put an end to Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing by the end of 2020.
Mr Mevuta however, bemoaned the weak implementation of management plans, lack of effective enforcement of the laws, coupled with low compliance as a major constraint to achieving the SDGs goal 14.
The Programmes Manager of Friends of the Nation, Mr Kyei Kwadwo Yamoah, said Ghana’s Fisheries Sector played a pivotal role in the area of employment, food security, nutrition, and poverty reduction.
Mr Yamoah bemoaned that Ghana’s fisheries livelihoods were collapsing due to lack of political will and as a result, Ghana only produces about 40 per cent of her annual fish requirement.
He explained that Ghana imported an estimated $311 million in seafood and fish products in 2018, according to a report by Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN), of the United States Department of Agriculture, noting that this importation of fish with the millions of dollars was a drain on the economy.
He advised that tackling weak governance of the sector, stopping the wasteful over-capacity and widespread Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing was the main requirement to rebuild the fish stocks.
Chairman of the Hook and Line Canoe Fishermen Association, (HLCFA) at Sekondi, Nii Tackie Annang, explained that there were no fish in the sea and fishermen were becoming poorer.
He in this regard urged the Government to ensure that there was proper enforcement of the fishing laws to save the situation.
He also urged fisher folks to rise up to the occasion to fight the IUU fishing by first complying with the fisheries laws.
A Senior Community Health Nurse with the Ghana Health Services, (GHS), Ms Roberta Akofa Tey, who took the meeting through the “COVID-19 pandemic and the fishing industry”, asked fisher folks to stick to the safety protocols by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ghana Heath Service (GHS) to stay safe.
She asked fisher folks to maintain a distance of at least two feet from one another during fishing expeditions and at the beaches.
Madam Akofa Tey took the meeting through proper handwashing and the use of PPE and advised the public to use the nose masks well, adding that, nose masks should be worn mostly when in public but not when one was alone.