Govt to supply fishing nets at subsidised price

Government will soon supply suitable and appropriate fishing nets at a reduced price to fishermen in the country, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mrs Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, has announced.

She said there was the need to support  the fisheries sector, which provided economic livelihood to a large number of Ghanaians, particularly those in the coastal and inland enclaves, estimated to be about 10 per cent of the total population, as envisaged by the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.

Mrs Quaye disclosed these at the Sixth National Policy Summit, which opened in the Central Regional Capital, Cape Coast, on Sunday.

The summit, organised by the Ministry of Information, was intended to bring together policy makers, leaders in business sector and industrial sectors, academia and civil society organisations to deliberate on national policies on specific sectors.

It was on the theme: “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals with emphasis on fisheries and sanitation.”

Mrs Quaye said that the government’s vision for the Medium Term National Policy Framework 2018-2021, was to transform and improve the fisheries and aquaculture sub-sectors, to increase productivity in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

She said “with the challenges being faced in the marine sub-sector, government’s focus is to stimulate aquaculture production that will assist a drastic reduction in domestic fish imports for Ghana, thereby increase foreign savings.”

Mrs Quaye said government was determined to increasing its support for the aquaculture industry to increase domestic fish production, to gradually offset the importation of fish and fishery products, and create more job opportunities along the aquaculture value chain.

She said “the government, through Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development is implementing the Aquaculture for Food and Jobs (AFJ) programme, to complement the ongoing National Planting for Food and Jobs initiative, under the AFJ programme.”

Mrs Quaye indicated that an estimated 10,200 unemployed youth would be mobilised into aquaculture enterprise groups and supported  with fish feed, fingerlings, tanks and cages to engage in commercial fish farming.

She said economically viable, but distressed aquaculture establishments, second cycle institutions and public institutions would also be assisted to set up new aquaculture production outlets.

“The programme is being implemented in collaboration with the Nations Builders Corps (NaBCo), and is estimated to create additional 7,000 direct and indirect jobs, and provide 33,628 metric tonnes additional fish annually for three years,” Mrs Quaye explained.

She said the government had taken pragmatic steps to halt the declining marine fish stocks in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Mrs  Quaye  revealed that as part of the broader plan to transom the fisheries sector, a number of infrastructure,  including landing sites, fishing harbours, fisheries college, hatcheries and improved processing plants were being constructed in the country.

She said that the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport would soon commence the construction of 10 landing sites in selected fishing communities at all four coastal regions.

“Government has also secured a $50million Chinese grant for the construction of the Jamestown Fishing harbour Complex. The necessary preparatory works, including the drafting of design, land and geological survey works have been completed and construction is scheduled to start by September 2019,” Mrs Quaye said.   

She stated that the first phase of the Anomabo Fisheries College project comprising classroom blocks, administration, hostels and laboratories would be completed by December this year.

By Cliff Ekuful

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