Fisheries Ministry declares zero tolerance for IUU

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Fishing Saiko

Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has declared zero tolerance for Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing practices among others depleting marine resources.

Consequently, the Ministry has intensified fisheries enforcement operations including sea and land patrols, deployment of observers on fishing vessels for sea trips, and effective operations of the Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) and Automatic Information Systems (AIS)to promote voluntary compliance.

Mrs Koomson gave the assurance at the opening of the 37th Farmers Day and Trade Exhibition which began in the Cape Coast, on Monday.

The five-day Fair, a prelude to the main event on Friday, December 03, will offer farmers from the various regions the platform to showcase their agricultural produce and potentials on special days allocated to them.

The event was interspersed with beautiful and rich tradition and cultural displays as well as brass band music and dance by five of the participating regions who were billed to mount their fairs on Monday, to the admiration of the audience including Ministers of State, Traditional Rulers, and MMDCs and the general public.

The Regions were Central, Western North, Eastern, Bono, and Northern Regions and the others will have their turn in subsequent days, before the awards ceremony on Friday.

“I wish to assure Ghanaians that the issues related to illegal fishing practices are receiving urgent attention by the government through legal and policy reviews to provide the requisite legal framework and strategic direction to improve the state of fisheries and aquaculture.

“We have also held very fruitful engagements with fishers to promote voluntary compliance,” she further stated, adding that improper marine management practices needed concerted efforts to reverse current trends considering the tremendous importance of the ocean to human existence.

Mrs Koomson assured that the Ministry will continue to actively engage stakeholders to take action through reforms to sanitize the sector and support fishers with the view to enhance productivity through the implementation of programmes.

It would continue to create a conducive working environment for them to engage in their fishing expeditions and extend the needed infrastructure and technical assistance to support their operations, the Minister, added.

She commended the various fisheries stakeholders for being proactive in responding to operational challenges especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions associated with it.

Ehunabobrim Prah Agyensaim VI, Omanhene of Owirenkyi Traditional Area said the programme reiterated the fact that agriculture remained the backbone of Ghana’s economy, however, the enormous potential largely remained untapped.

It was of no surprise as all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations were linked directly or indirectly to agriculture, ostensibly due to the potential of agriculture to positively impact the objectives of poverty reduction and wealth creation.

He expressed optimism about Ghana’s Tree Crop Development Agenda as a masterstroke which was long overdue to promote the revival of local industries to spark growth.

He said: The promotion of seven Tree Crops namely: oil, palm, coconut, cashew, shea, coffee, and mango will do wonders for Ghana just like cocoa, if not more.

“By design, the implementation of the Tree Crop Development programme, currently in 175 districts, has great prospects for the local economies of beneficiary districts.

“At maturity, industries will spring up from the source of raw materials, jobs will be created and the Assemblies will benefit from greater revenue to undertake more development projects.

“Equally significant is the environmental impact of the progamme. As a friend of the environment, I can assure you that the cultivation of trees is a major solution to the threat of climate change to agriculture and Ghana’s ecosystem”, he stressed.

He urged the people of the Region, particularly the youth to take advantage of the various agric initiatives to embrace farming to create jobs and wealth.

This will help change the narrative that the Region was the fourth poorest in the country.

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