Players in the fishing industry have observed that the rampant violation of fisheries laws and regulations have made seasonal bumper fish catch a thing of the past.
The country according to them must as a matter of urgency act quickly to prevent the rapid depletion of fish stocks or pay dearly in terms of food security in the not too far future.
The stakeholders made up of Fish mongers, chief fishermen, traditional authorities, security agencies and Friends of the Nation together with development partners unanimously expressed the concern at a community durbar at Lower Dixcove in the Western Region to mark this year’s World Fisheries Day celebration.
The celebration was made possible by the Friends of the Nation, together with CARE and Oxfam who are implementing the “Far Ban Bo” project funded by the European Union for the next four years as a step to protect fishing livelihood in five communities across the country.
ACOP Samuel Owusu Berko, Regional Director of the Marine, Ports and Railways, said Ghana in recent times had become a target for illegal fishing activities from both foreign and local fishing vessels and groups, thus destroying local fish stocks and rendering local communities vulnerable and poor.
He pointed out that weak enforcement of laws due to inadequate logistics, personnel and limited public education were contributing to Illegal Unreported Unfishing in the country, a trend which he said must be reversed.
“I feel very much concerned about the need to ensure that laws governing the fisheries infractions were applied to the latter bearing in mind the gradual decrease in the livestock level of fish within our waters due to weak governance that has tolerated wasteful over capitalization and the problem of open access promoting illegal and harmful fishing practices,” he added.
The Director said fisheries resource was such a strategic national resource that must be protected for posterity and called on all stakeholders to join hands in the fight adding, “Fisheries resource is one of the key element for economic growth and development for the present and future generations.
Mr Kyei Yamoah, Project Manager of Friends of the Nation, who gave a narration of the four year project said it would help fishermen to gather real evidence on illegal activities at sea through training and provision of relevant technologies, training on nutrition, formation of savings and loans club, resuscitate fisher groups within the pilot communities.
The project, he said, was currently being run in James Town in the Greater Accra Region, Anomabo in the Central Region, Discove in Western and Kpando and Kedzekope in the Volta Region.
Mr. Kwame Mensah, Director of the ‘Far Ban Bo project’ called for stronger ties among communities to ensure the realization of the project’s objectives.
Mr Marfo of the Regional Fisheries Commission, said aside climate change, human behaviours were also contributing greatly to the destruction of the sea and its resources.