EU supports ECOWAS with €I million for fisheries management

Mr Seraphin Dedi(left) exchanging documents with Mr Paolo Salvia,EU Ambassador Photo Seth Osabukle

Mr Seraphin Dedi(left) exchanging documents with Mr Paolo Salvia,EU Ambassador Photo Seth Osabukle

The European Union (EU) is supporting the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with one million Euros to build a well-coordinated fisheries management system.

This is being done through a four-year project, named “Improved fisheries Governance in West Africa-PESCAO”, which seeks to, amongst other things   develop fisheries policies at the regional level.

It would also build the capacities of national and regional authorities to clamp down on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing practices and enhance coordinated approaches.

Implemented by Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), an intergovernmental body, it is expected that the project would complement efforts by member countries to help sustain the sector.

At the launch of the project in Accra yesterday, the acting Head of EU delegation to Ghana, Paolo Salvia, said the project was in line with the EU’s resolve to support the conservation and sustainable management and use of natural resources as well as protection of the marine ecosystem.

He noted that fish resource in the region was under increasing pressure with IUU being one of the contributing factors.

Mr Salvia said a reinforced collaboration with members states in addition to international agreements were important tools to fight the illegal activities on the seas.

He, therefore, urged all partners in the project to work closely together with all various stakeholders to better the lives of coastal folks, and to protect fisheries resources for posterity.

Sidibe Aboubacar, ECOWAS Representative said the project would enhance efforts made by ECOWAS member States and development partners for sustainable exploitation of fisheries stocks.

The fisheries and aquaculture sector, he said was of strategic importance in West Africa and expressed gratitude to the EU for its support to mitigate challenges facing the sector.

The Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Francis Cudjoe, lamented that the country lost about millions of cedis annually due to IUU activities.

He said the government, as part of efforts to address challenges in the sector and reverse the declining fish stock, was implementing the Closed Season, adding that the region would someday have one closed season.

Calling for more attention to the sector by the government, the deputy minister expressed the hope that the project would change the fortunes of the ailing sector.

Secretary General of the FCWC, Seraphin Dedi said efforts by member states had been impeded by lack of financial and technical capacity and that it was time for a regional approach which would be cost effective.

He said the committee would continue to facilitate interventions to make the sector thrive.

By Jonathan Donkor and Deborah AsumaBy Jonathan Donkor and Deborah Asuma

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