The pilot project, located at the Scientific Survey Division of the Fisheries Commission in Tema, is to monitor, control and provide surveillance to fishing vessels, and verify their compliance with domestic, regional and international regulations through objective and verifiable data.
Mr. Samuel Quaatey, Director of the Fisheries Commission (FC) of MOFAD who disclosed this to The Ghanaian Times at the launch of an Electronic Monitoring System Office at Tema, said the project was part of the Global Sustainable Management of Tuna Fisheries and Biodiversity Conservation in the areas beyond national jurisdiction.
The project, he said, comprised three components, such as facilities for human resource, training, and computers for the monitoring system, cameras installed in 11 flagged Ghanaian vessels, and an office in Tema.
The Director said the project was meant to monitor vessels on the sea, and was part of the sustainable fishing in the areas beyond national jurisdiction.
The tuna industry provides great foreign exchange for the country, of about 500 million US dollars, through export of the processed product,” he said, adding that the fishing activities were currently being closely observed and monitored by the European Union, as well as regulatory bodies which controlled illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities.
He reminded the fishermen of the EU’s very punitive measures against defaulting fishermen and their nations, relative to the negative socio-economic consequences such culprits were subjected to, including fees, embargoes on fish and fish product exports and job losses, among others.
He said the National Plan of Action was to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, adding that the system was to identify existing gabs in relation to combating IUU fishing and to propose remedial steps to address these gaps.
“Ghana’s National Plan of Action on IUU has been developed in accordance with the principles and provisions of the International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU fishing, and the IUU Regional Plan of Action Developed by the Fisheries Committee of the Western and Central Gulf of Guinea,” he added.
In his address, Dr. Abebe Haile Gabriel, FAO Representative to Ghana, said Africa had diverse fisheries resources with an immense potential and many opportunities for contributing significantly to the socio-economic growth of the continent and improving livelihoods of its citizens.
He said the FAO recognized the critical need to conserve biodiversity and genetic resources, and to exploit the marine living resources in a sustainable manner.
Dr. Haile Gabriel said, non-responsible fisheries, especially IUU fishing were hampering the efforts made by the various countries, and stated that the common Occean Aeas Beyond National Jurisdiction Programme funded by the Global Environment Facility, and in particular its Tuna Project, was the vehicle for the work to bring innovative partnership to tackle long term problems.
From Daniel Amoo, Tema