EU partners with Ghana to improve fisheries sector

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By
Lydia Asamoah, GNA

Accra, April 7, GNA –
A European Union funded project dubbed, “Ensure Greater Environmental
Sustainability and Social Equity in Ghana’s Fishery Sector, has been launched
to help promote food security and improved livelihoods in the sector.

The project would also
help in reducing illegal fishing activities and promote participatory
co-management of fisheries.

The Environmental
Justice Foundation (EJF), a UK based non-profit organization working to protect
the environment and defend human rights is partnering Hen Mpoano, a non-profit
organization based in Ghana to implement the three-year project.

Ghana’s fisheries
sector is a significant contributor to the economy and is the main source of income
for millions of people.

About 70 per cent of
Ghana’s fish catch comes from the small-scale artisanal sector, but
overfishing, illegal fishing and poor management are threatening the long-term
sustainability- hitting these small-scale fisheries the hardest.

The project seeks to
empower small-scale fishers to secure their tenure rights, implement a
co-management approach to fisheries, combat illegal fishing and promote
alternative livelihoods as a means to reduce dependence on the fishing sector. 

Mr Kofi Agbogah,
Director of Hen Mpoano, said the project would be implemented in 10 districts
within the Central Region and the Volta Estuary where, fisher folks would be
engaged in ways of improving good fishing practices while supporting efforts
towards the eradication of poverty and hunger within these communities.

“It is important that
we empower these communities and ensure that their voice is heard as artisanal
fishers have a vital role to play if we want to retain the sustainability in
the fishing sector. We need to secure these communities’ tenure rights, and
ring fence their traditional fishing activities against external aggression
such as urbanization or other economic activities”

Mr Agbogah said the
Fisheries Commission would as usual give the necessary support as stakeholders
get ready to prepare the action plan that would guide the implementation
process.

Mr Antoine Rougier,
Country Coordinator of EJF, commended Ghana for its efforts in tackling the
unsustainable and illegal fishing practices that has far too long plagued the
sector.

He said statistics
shows that West Africa has the highest rate of illegal fishing practices in the
world and that Ghana was also losing so much money to illegal, unregulated and
unreported (IUU) fishing and this contravenes international law on fishing.

Mr William Hanna, EU
Ambassador, said a total of 1.9 million Euros is being given as a grant to
support the project.

He said a few years
ago, ERU was worried about how fishing was being done in Ghana and so it issued
a warning for the country to regulate its fishing activities before it could
export fish to some European countries.

“The good news is that
Ghana has worked so hard and today the EU is here to help ensure the
sustainability of the fishing sector”, Mr Hanna said.

Mrs Elizabeth Afoley
Quaye, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, in a speech read on behalf,
commended all the stakeholders in the effort that would ensure improved
management of the fishing sector.

She said co-management
in fisheries would enable responsibility of the resource to be shared between
user groups and the government, and opportunities would be created for both the
community and government to be involved in decision-making, implementation and
enforcement processes.

She said government
was working with other partners to engage fisher communities to participate in
the co-management of the fisheries resources.

“Under this,
volunteers in pilot communities-cluster within the Greater Accra Region are
being trained and equipped to undertake education and sensitization of their
community members on the fisheries laws, report and assist in the prosecution
of fisheries infractions, conduct lake and land patrols and also to undertake
registration of canoes.

“Other co-management
arrangements to institute rights-based approaches in fisheries resource
management are being piloted under the West Africa Regional Fisheries programme
in some communities in the marine and inland areas”.

Mrs Quaye thanked the
EU for assisting Ghana in achieving sustainable fisheries management through
the implementation of the EU regulation on IUU while assisting the country to
strengthen its capacity in fisheries governance and effective monitoring, control
and surveillance.

She said the
assistance has also enable Ghana to develop the National Plan of Action to
combat IUU, the National Marine Fisheries Management Plan and the amended
sections of Fisheries Act 625 and Fisheries Amendment Regulations L.I 1968 to
incorporate deterrent penalties for IUU offences.

GNA

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