Sustainable fishing economy project launched
A three-year project to promote sustainable fishing economy in Ghana was launched in Accra on Tuesday.
Dubbed the “Sustainable Oceans Project” it is aimed at building the capacities of fisher folks to participate in the management of resources they depend upon for their livelihoods.
It is being implemented by four NGOs namely the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Hen Mpoano, Friends of the Nation, and Central and Western Fishmongers Improvement Association (CEWEFIA).
The project, funded by the Nowegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), will also strengthen efforts to establish community-led management of estuarine resources and support fisher folk associations to advocate transparency and governance reforms in the sector, as well as supporting enforcement actions against illegal fishing.
Launching it, Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD), Mr Moses Anim, said the fisheries sector played a vital role in national development, serving as a source of employment for an estimated number of three million people and accounted for 1.04 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021.
He revealed that preliminary results from the 2022 Canoe Frame Survey conducted by the Fisheries Commission indicated that 187 Fishery communities across the four coastal regions relied heavily on Fisheries and related activities as their primary source of income and livelihood.
He explained that the small scale fisheries alone employed about 110,252 fishermen with an additional 500,000 individuals engaging in processing, distribution and marketing of fish across the country, of which many were women.
However, Mr Anim regretted that the marine fisheries resources had been depleted in the last decade with Illegal Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing practices, adding that such illegal practices have “unimaginable implications” for fishing communities with potential for widespread poverty and food insecurity.
He therefore, described the launch of the project as timely and commended the Norad for funding it.
Project Coordinator, EJF, Mr Theophilus Boachie Yiadom, throwing more light on the project, indicated that more than 1,500 women would benefit from capacity building and training, while small scale fisheries and traders along the coastal regions of Ghana would be trained in fisheries management.
“We will also influence national policy implementation and enforcement of fisheries laws and regulations. The project will also help ensure the needs of small scale fishers are reflected in legal and regulatory review processes.”
“Some officials from the Navy, marine police, prosecutors and judges with technical input from national legal experts to support effective enforcement of fisheries laws and good governance will also be trained as part of this project,” he added.
Deputy Head of Missions, Norwegian Embassy in Ghana, Mr Kyrre Holm in his remarks said the planned objectives of addressing illegal fishing activities and improving income resilience of fishing communities while strengthening climate change adaptation and mitigation capacities in coastal areas were highly relevant to Ghana.
“The Norwegian funding through NORAD is geared towards addressing these challenges and has become one of the priority areas of our development cooperation. As coastal countries, we have a responsibility to use the ocean’s resources in a sustainable and responsible manner so that we and the next generation can continue to benefit from it,” he added.
He mentioned that it was only by working together and investing in communities that a sustainable future for Ghana’s ocean economy could be achieved.
BY RAISSA SAMBOU