The National Fisheries Association of Ghana (NAFAG) has stated that it shares President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s concern that the government spent US$200 million annually to import fish.
The import is to shore up the country’s fish requirement due to Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) activities.
The Association mentioned this in a statement signed by Mr Simon Agah, NAFAG Acting President, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Tema in reaction to a speech delivered by President Akufo-Addo at the One Ocean Summit held in Brest, France.
NAFAG, therefore, recommended the need for shared responsibility between producers and managers and regulators of the fishing industry in the spirit of the co-management approach in addressing the IUU issues and their effect on Ghana.
The Association stated that as producers in the fishing industry, they were gravely affected by the current situation and therefore pledged their support to President Akufo-Addo in his bid to curb the IUU menace by noting that they would be actively involved in the implementation of the provisions in the National Plan of Action.
It indicated that they intended to do this through sensitization and education of their fishermen to elicit self-compliance to the provisions in the National Plan of Action as well as all legal provisions that govern the fisheries sector.
NAFAG noted that it would make use of inter-association engagements, to engage members of all fisheries associations engaged in IUU fishing activities by discouraging them from such negative practices while encouraging them to engage in laid down anti-IUU fishing activities.
They also pledged their active involvement in the implementation of all components of the action plan by ensuring that individual sectors in the fishing industry complied with all the requirements.
The requirements included a fish catching certificate, reactivation and installation of a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), Automatic Identification System (AIS) on vessels, and cooperation with the regulators in the areas of sea beach inspecting and sea patrols.
“In addition to the foregoing is our pledge to fully participate in the implementation of the 2022-2026 Marine Fisheries Management Plan aimed at restoring the polluted ecosystem and recovering declining fish stock,” it stated.
The Association however appealed to President Akufo-Addo to ensure the speedy acquisition of Fisheries Research Vessel to help provide a solid scientific basis for policy formulation on the sector.
NAFAG noted that such a research vessel would provide the needed scientific basis for policy formation and implementation on IUU fishing activities.
It indicated that the vessel would also help the country to undertake a stock assessment of the various species, and have the needed data for the declaration of closed seasons, closed areas, marine protected areas, among others.
NAFAG is the umbrella fisheries association that coordinates activities of the Ghana Tuna Association, Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association, Ghana Inshore Fisheries Association, Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council, and the National Inland Canoe Fishermen Council.