The Government of Ghana through the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Hon. Hawa Koomson has lent its support to Ecowas to establish a regional, monitoring, control and surveillance center of the Fisheries Committee for West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) here in Tema.
Speaking during the launch of the centre (RMCSC), Hon. Hawa Koomson explained that the facility will go a long way to address major challenges in combating illegal, unreported and regulated fishing in the sub-region.
She mentioned amongst other things that the incidence of IUU fishing is quiet worrisome to the Government of Ghana because of its negative impact on the fisheries resources and the loss of revenue to the country which she estimates at millions of US Dollars.
‘‘This loss of revenue could be used to improve the livelihoods of coastal communities and reduce poverty. I have been briefed that IUU fishing is on the rise in West Africa due to the economic benefit gained by those involved in the act. I have also been briefed that no single country can combat IUU fishing’’, she reiterated.
The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, further explained that Government of Ghana is committed to the regional strategy to combat IUU fishing and would offer the FCWC Secretariat all necessary assistance to spear head the regional fight against IUU fishing.
She therefore enumerated certain reforms put in place by the Government of Ghana to combat IUU fishing including a legal reform and enactment of new Fisheries Act.
Ghana, according to the Minister has initiated the process to review the current legal legislations and enacted a new Fisheries Act. The country also ratified the FAO Port State Measure Agreement to combat IUU in 2016. A new Fisheries Act she pointed out will incorporate the Port State Measures and prescribe severer sanctions against IUU fishing infractions.
The second reform is a New Plan of Action to combat IUU fishing referred to as NPOA-IUU (2021-2025), which was adopted for the period 2021-2025 after its expiry date in 2019. The new action plan has been registered with the FAO Headquarters in Rome in line with the International Plan of Action to combat IUU fishing.
Furthermore, there is the preparation of new Marine Fisheries Management Plan (2021-2025), a process to procure four patrol vessels and one research vessel. The patrol vessel will be use at sea patrols to combat IUU fishing while the research vessel will be used to collect the necessary data for development of sustainable management plan.
Stakeholder engagements with fisher folks in their communities on the negative impact of IUU fishing have also gone on in the past few weeks and the establishment of the Fisheries Enforcement Unit, charged with the responsibility of monitoring, control and surveillance of Ghana’s fishery waters and ports, operation of vessel monitoring system, deployment of fisheries observers on industrial vessels, the development of a computerized vessel registry and implantation of closed season.
Source: Malise Otoo