The advice was given by speakers at a durbar and exhibition of fish preservation methods held here at Apam, a fishing community in the Central Region, to mark Rural Women’s Day which is celebrated on October 15, to highlight the contribution of women to agriculture production.
The durbar held to highlight best fishing practices, forms part of the Sustainable Fisheries Management Project-a USAID five -year sponsored food security project that focuses on assisting the country achieve the fisheries sector development objectives of poverty reduction and hunger.
Observed on the theme “Say No to Bad Fish –My Role,” the event which was organised by the Development Action Association (DAA) in collaboration with Farmers Organisation Network, was attended by various women groups in fishing and fish processing, policymakers, traditional authorities, and other non-governmental organisations.
The Central Regional Director of Fisheries Commission, Yaw Atobrah, in his remark commended the women fisher folks for their role in food security in the country and entreated them to avoid unorthodox fishing and fish processing in order to protect public health and to preserve the fish stock.
Addressing the gathering, the Executive Director of DAA, Madam Lydia Sasu called for concerted efforts of all resources users in the fisheries value chain to put hands on deck and say “No to bad fish and bad fishing methods” to save the marine fish stocks for posterity.”
Noting that fishing was a major economic activity of communities along the coastal line, Madam Sasu expressed concern that the “industry in Ghana has over the years not seen much development due to inadequate investment in the sector’s stakeholders especially women who play vital role along the fish industry value chain.”
She said women were key agents for achieving the transformational economic, environmental and social changes required for sustainable development, but “limited access to credit, health care and education are among the many challenges they face which are aggravated by the global food and economic crisis and climate change.”
“Ensuring their empowerment is key not only to the well-being of individuals, families and rural communities, but also to overall economic productivity, given women’s large presence in the agricultural workforce worldwide,” she added.
Nana Essel Botwe, the Queenmother of Apam urged the district assembly to form a task force to enforce the laws governing responsible fishing and fish processing to avoid the consumption of bad fish and protect public health.
The Gomoa West District Chief Executive, Theophilus Mensah, in a speech read for him emphasised the commitment of the government to improve the livelihood of the fishing communities.
From Salifu Abdul-Rahaman