The Director of Environment and Natural Resource Research Initiative (ENRRI), Professor Wisdom Akpalu, has called on the government to limit the number of canoes fishing along the country’s coast to make the sector more sustainable and attractive.
He explained that the current number of over 12,000 canoes in the fishing industry would have to be reduced to at least 9,000 to ease the burden of activities on the sea, especially illegal fishing.
“The move will increase the annual tonnes of fishing as well as help agencies responsible for carrying out development interventions to thoroughly monitor the fisheries sector and the industry for the overall development of the economy,” he said.
Professor Akpalu said this at a stakeholders’ forum held in Accra on Tuesday.
The forum was on the topic “managing capture fisheries in Ghana: challenges and opportunities.”
He said the annual tons of fisheries produced in the country, kept reducing despite the government’s efforts of subsidising about 60 per cent of premix fuel to improve the fisheries industry.
He explained that the limitation on the number of canoes in the coastal areas had become necessary, following the overcapacity on the seas to save Ghana’s fishing stock from collapsing.
Professor Akpalu said the government could make a profit of $271 million annually from the fishing industry than the current profit of $169 million only if the size of traditional fisheries were reduced.
“The trawler industry should also be reduced from its current number of 75 to 50 since most of them continued to engage in dubious fishing which is also hindering the sector.
Currently, profits from the trawling industry had reduced from 78 million dollars annually to 57 million dollars whiles consumption of fish per each Ghanaian had also reduced from 27 kilograms annual to 21 kilograms, ” he said.
“In 20O6 the consumption per each Ghanaian was 27 kilograms per person annually. In 2015 it reduced to 21 kilograms, a situation that compelled government in 2016 to import about 211 million dollars of fish.
In 2015, government spent over GH₵ 150 million to subsidies premix fuel for fish men but the overcapacity of artisan fishing had become difficult for the initiative to be sustainable, hence the need to streamline the fishing industry especially with regards to numbers,” he said.
The Western Regional Secretary of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council, Mr Mike Abaka said trawler industry in 1993 was producing about 3,000 tons of fishes annually, but due to over dependence on the marines, the trawling industry was currently producing about 500 tonne.
BY BERNARD BENGHAN