A new mobile phone application (App) that seeks to support the fight against illegal fishing activities in the country, has been launched in Cape Coast, in the Central Region
The new App, known as DASE, meaning, “evidence” in Fante, would provide quick information on illegal fishing activities at sea.
The facility developed by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) and Hen Mpoano, under the European Union (EU), and funded by Far Dwuma Nkodo project, would also provide a simple, user friendly programme for use by fisherfolks.
All that a user does in relation to the usage of the app in reporting illegal fishing activities or damaging of fishing gear, is to take a picture of the vessel with its name or identification number, showing and recording the location.
The Fisheries Programmes Manager of Far Dwuma Nkodo project, Mr Socrates Segbor, at the launch of the App, expressed worry that, illegal fishing activities continue to threaten Ghana’s fisheries sector.
He urged the Fisheries Commission, fisherfolks and stakeholders to partner EJF and Hen Mpoano in using the app for its rightful purpose, in order to safeguard the fisheries sector and secure the livelihoods of the people that would depend on it.
The Far Dwuma Nkodo project, Mr Segbor said, since 2017, had been working hard to secure greater environmental sustainability and social equity in the country’s fisheries sector.
He said the project would support efforts at reducing illegal fishing and building the capacities of fishing communities in the sustainable management of their resource.
The activities to be undertaken by the project, Mr Segbor said, included consultation with fishing communities on the reforms of Ghana’s fisheries laws, mapping of landing beaches, training of journalists on fisheries issues as well as advocacy campaign against illegal fishing.
“Ghana’s fisheries sector plays an essential role in the government’s national development objectives in relation to employment, livelihood support, poverty reduction and food security”, he said.
Mr Segbor noted that the country’s marine sector was a primary source of income for 86 coastal villages, proving livelihood for over two million people and food security for the nation.
He, however, said that fish population was in a steep decline with landings of sardinella droppings by 80 per cent over the past two decades, and increasing numbers of fishers returning from sea with no catch.
“This has primarily been caused by illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) and scientists have predicted the collapse of Ghana’s small pelagic fishery in less than five years if current trends continue,” Mr Segborsaid.
An Executive Member of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC), Nana Kojo Solomon, in his remarks, said: “Illegal fishing is causing the collapse of Ghana’s staple fish stocks and the loss of food security, livelihoods and tens of millions of dollars in national stocks and the loss.”
In his remarks, Mr Nii Amponsah, Head of the Monitoring Centre and Surveillance Division of the Fisheries Commission indicated that, the App would complement the work of the Commission in monitoring vessels.
FROM DAVID O. YARBOI-TETTEH, CAPE COAST