Mr Nayone Bilijo, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, on Tuesday said Ghana?s fish supply was in deficit of about 50.2 per cent to national requirements.

He said in 2012, the total fish production was 482,000 metric tons while fish requirement for the period was 968,000 metric tons.

?During the same period the private sector had to import fish valued at about 157 million dollars to augment the fish supply,? Mr Bilijo said at the meet-the-press series in Accra.

The meeting was to create the platform for the ministry to present the achievements and challenges of the fisheries sector.

Mr Bilijo said Ghana was on record of being one of the highest fish consuming nations in the world with a per capita consumption of 23 kilogrammes per year as compared to the world average of 13 kilogrammes.

?It is worrisome to note that in spite of the 50.2 per cent shortfall in our domestic fish requirement, post- harvest loss in the sector is estimated in the region of 37 per cent,? he said.

The Minister said to address these challenges and to improve the contribution of fisheries to sustainable food security and nutrition, the ministry was embarking on policies including ensuring sustainable exploitation and utilisation of the fisheries resource, developing fisheries infrastructure to modernise the sector and promoting aquaculture development, among other things.

Mr Bilijo announced the establishment of Fisheries Enforcement Unit in accordance with section 94 of the Fisheries Act, 2002, (Act 625), with staff strength of 55 personnel drawn from the Ghana Navy, Marine Police of the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Air Force, National Security, and officials of the ministry.

He said the Unit was strengthened with the provision of requisite logistics and operational manuals to efficiently and effectively carry out its duties in respect of combating illegal fishing through land, sea and air surveillance.

On projects, Mr Bilijo said the ministry was undertaking series of projects namely, Artisanal Cold Chain Network; Turnkey Fish Processing Plant; West Africa Regional Fisheries Programme ?Ghana Component 1 to 4; and Development of Fish Landing Sites and Harbours along the coast of Ghana.

He said they were able to complete five out of the six cold stores at Prampram, Nyanyano, Kromantse, Shama, and Half Assini and it was left with that of New Takoradi.

He said to date people of New Takoradi could not get a suitable land for the project and ?I?m afraid if we did not start anything there before the end of the year, we will lose that chance?.

He said: ?Even if the people can get a suitable land on December 28, work will begin the following day to enable us to proceed and complete next year because the materials and the contractors are ready to move at any time to complete that project.

?According to the agreement of that project, which began in 2007, it will come to an end on December 31, 2013 and there were bottlenecks associated with the commencement of the project and we thought all these time it will give the people ample time to choose a suitable land for the project, but unfortunately this has not been the case.?

Source: GNA

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