As of September 2022, all anglers who refuse to use approved fishing nets will be penalized.
The Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mr Moses Anim, who issued the warning, urged all fishermen to comply with the directive without excuse to avoid a conflict with the law.
He said that the Ministry, after several consultations with relevant stakeholders, had agreed to enforce the regulations on gear, especially fishing nets, as part of the governance measures to save the fishing sector from the country.
Mr. Anim was speaking at a media training workshop organized for media professionals in member countries of the West Central Gulf of Guinea Fisheries Committee (FCWC) in Accra on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
The FCWC was established in 2007 to promote and facilitate cooperation in fisheries management among FCWC member countries—Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Liberia, Benin and Côte d’Ivoire.
The workshop was organized by Hen Mpoano, a fisheries non-governmental organization with support from FCWC.
The training, which was attended by journalists and experts from FCWC countries, aimed to equip participants with relevant information on fisheries governance in the West African sub-region – increased transparency, law enforcement, collaborative management and capacity building of key stakeholders in Ghana. and the West African sub-region.
The Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture said that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing needs firm and strict measures without fear or favor to tackle it in order to achieve impactful results.
For him, the government would not allow the few selfish individuals in the fishing sector to destroy the country’s fish resources with destructive fishing gear to the detriment of the masses who depended on the sector for their livelihoods.
The head of the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (SCS) unit of the Fisheries Commission (FC), Papayaw Atobra, said the country had the primary responsibility to protect its fisheries resources and should therefore adopt all measures strict and reasonable to combat IUU fishing. fishing.
“We have a responsibility to manage our fisheries resources for the benefit of our people and those unborn,” he said, adding that the country had a responsibility to provide livelihoods for “our people and ensure our nation’s food security”.
Mr. Atobra was of the opinion that the country should cooperate with the international community to fight against IUU fishing, stressing that ocean governance is not the preserve of one nation.
He further encouraged strong institutional coordination and appropriate policies to reduce coastal poverty which he noted often drives many actors in the fisheries sector to engage in IUU fishing in the country.
He was of the opinion that the country’s failure to maintain monitoring, control and surveillance of its fishing sector, particularly on IUU fishing, had led the country to receive a yellow card from the European Union ( EU) for the second time.
The yellow card is an official warning issued by the EU to trading partners who fail to tackle IUU fishing.
FC MCS boss said that for the country to fight against IUU fishing, it is necessary to improve fisheries governance, strengthen MCS, fight against IUU fishing at all levels, strengthen the international cooperation and to ratify the relevant international fisheries conventions.
IUU fishing operators
FCWC Regional MCS Expert, Mr. Godfrey Baidoo-Tsibu, said the three main drivers of IUU fishing in the FCWC region are the economic incentives that make IUU fishing a low risk, high profit activity. ; weak governance that fails to enact or enforce fisheries management regulations and barriers to enforcement of fisheries regulations caused by lack of political will, lack of enforcement capacity and sometimes corruption.
For him, IUU fishing “remains one of the greatest threats to marine ecosystems due to its powerful ability to undermine national and regional efforts for sustainable fisheries management as well as marine biodiversity conservation efforts”.
He therefore called for an urgent need for collaborative efforts from the West African sub-region to tackle IUU fishing together to achieve the necessary impact since the region had shared stocks.
The Executive Director of Hen Mpoano, Mr. Kofi Agbogah, praised Ghanaian journalists for their role in the fight against IUU fishing in the country.
He said the Ghanaian media over the years had done a lot to raise awareness about the negative consequences of IUU fishing.
For him, the three-day training was organized by the NGO and its partners to inform participants of the common issues, challenges and perspectives of fisheries in the West African sub-region and to strengthen their skills in reporting on the fishing in their respective countries.