Mr. Israel Nii Adjei Brown, Director of Research at the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD), urged fishers to refrain from engaging in and end all forms of fishing illegal that could cause the industry to collapse.
“Gone are the days when fishermen experienced bumper harvests between July and August, unfortunately the situation is not the same now due to illegalities on the country’s marine waters.”
Mr. Brown raised his concerns at the regional regatta competition held in Winneba as part of the 7th Meeting of Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific (OEACP), scheduled for Accra, from Tuesday 05 April. to Friday 08 this year.
The event was organized by the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC) and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) with funding from the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF).
The regatta brought together five groups of artisanal fishermen and was won by God is good, followed by Isaiah, Star 2, Agege Boys number 2 and Morocco in that respective order and was rewarded with cash prizes after the competition.
The director called on artisanal fishers to observe the closed season to help rebuild the fish stock, adding that artisanal fishers play a key role in Ghana’s economy and food value chain.
“Ghana’s fishery resources are overexploited and a number of management measures are being deployed to ensure the recovery of fish stocks,” he added.
Mr Brown told the assembly that there was an ongoing national campaign against illegal and unregulated fishing practices such as transhipment at sea, popularly known as ‘Saiko’ and that it needed the cooperation of all stakeholders to reduce canker to a bare minimum.
For his part, Neenyi Kow Bowie II, the Gyaasehen of Woarabeba, a suburb of Winneba, called for unity among the locals to help develop the area since their main job was fishing.
“Much can be accomplished if the great Asafo companies come together and work towards a common goal,” he advised.
The OACPS meeting provides an opportunity for ministers, policy makers, professionals and practitioners from different blocs (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) to exchange ideas, knowledge, experiences, policies and best practices to improve the sector some fishing.