Rebuilding Ghana?s Marine Fish Stocks is Crucial to Food Security

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The Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP), a food security program that seeks to rebuild Ghana?s small pelagic marine fish stocks, officially launches on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, at Akroma Plaza in Takoradi, Western Region, Ghana. Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), SFMP is a Feed the Future project, a Presidential initiative focused on transforming the agriculture sector. USAID/Ghana Mission Director, Andrew Karas recognizes the partnership between the people of the United States of America and Ghana who reaffirm their commitment to support fishery resources?important to food security and the nutritional status of Ghanaians.

Hon.Sherry Ayittey Minister of Fisheries at the Launch
Hon.Sherry Ayittey Minister of Fisheries at the Launch

At a time when the nation?s small pelagic fish stocks (such as sardinella, herring and anchovy) are near collapse, the project is critical to the future of Ghana?s fisheries. This fishery is vital to the local economy and directly employs about 135,000 fishers in the marine fisheries sub-sector alone?92% of which are artisanal fishers.
In addition, women make up about 20% of the artisanal fisheries sector and are not only heavily involved in processing and marketing of the fish, but play critical roles in fishing households.

For most Ghanaians, fish is the preferred source of animal protein. It is inexpensive and has high nutritional values compared to other animal sourced-foods. Ghanaians consume an average 23 kg of fish per person per year, well above the global average of 16 kg. Critical to food security and economic development, fish are a healthy food source with many benefits, especially for mother and child.

The launch seeks to unite actors in the fisheries sector and encourage collaboration with other coastal projects. SFMP already works with partners from the village to national level along Ghana?s coast. The project works closely with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, its affiliated Fisheries Commission, and with the World Bank-funded West African Regional Fisheries Project, to improve the enabling environment for marine resource governance. ?Rebuilding Ghana?s small pelagic fishery is a challenging and ambitious project, but with improved management, tens of thousands of metric tons of high-quality, low-cost fish protein supply can be recovered. Not only will tens of thousands of fishermen and women benefit, but food security will improve for millions of people in Ghana and its neighbors in West Africa,? said Dr. Brian Crawford, the Chief of Party of SFMP.

A five-year USAID-funded project, SFMP contributes to the Government of Ghana?s fisheries and agricultural sector development objectives for improved food security, economic growth and poverty reduction.

USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. Since 1961, USAID has supported Ghana in increasing food security, improving basic health care, enhancing access to quality basic education, and strengthening local governance to benefit all Ghanaian people. The Coastal Resources Center (CRC) at the Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, USA, implements SFMP along with a consortium of partners including Hen Mpoano, Friends of the Nation, SNV, SSG Advisors, Central and Western Fishmongers Improvement Association (CEWEFIA), Daasgift Quality Foundation, Development Action Association (DAA) and Spatial Solutions.

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