Workshop on Draft Fisheries Management Plan held

The National Stakeholders Validation Workshop on the Draft Fisheries Management Plan has been held in Accra.

The development of a Fisheries Management Plan is one of the outputs under the ongoing West African Regional Fisheries Project and management consultants have been engaged to assist with the process.

Speaking at the event, Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Development said the Fisheries Commission was mandated by the Fisheries Act 2002 Act 6250, to regulate and manage the utilisation of the fishery resources of Ghana and co-ordinate the policies in relation to them.

She said, the provision in the Fisheries Act, requires that fishing capacity was appropriately aligned to the existing fish stocks such that fishing effort and its related activities would not compromise the ability of the fish stocks to regenerate themselves into the future.

The Minister said, in line with International requirements and practice for coastal state, the Fisheries Act prescribes that Fishery plans should be prepared for the management and development of life fishery based on the best scientific information.

“The fishery plans, shall therefore, be consistent with good management principles in order to ensure the optimum utilisation of the fishery resources, whilst avoiding every exploitation” she said.

Ms. Ayittey said, the marine fisheries had long been a pillar of Ghana’s coastal economy, contributing significantly to Ghana’s socio-economic development.

She said, the fisheries sector, generates over one billion dollars in revenue each year and accounts for at least 4.5 per cent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

It also accounts for an estimated 2.4 million people or 10 per cent of the population employed directly or indirectly in the sector and again accounts for 60 per cent of animal protein consumed in Ghana.

She said, the total fish production had remained around 400,000 MT for many years and there were indications, however, of decline in fish production of important fish stocks, even though fishing capacity and effort had been increased.

According to her, the situation where many vessels and canoes were chasing fewer and fewer fish is an indication that Ghana’s fishery was not being scientifically managed and has resulted in extreme completion and conflict among the various operations for the dwindling business profitability.

She said, many operators have resorted to the use of deleterious fishing gear and methods, prohibited by the fisheries law and regulation.

By Daniel Amoo

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