Mr. Richster Nii Armah Amarfio, Secretary of the Ghana Tuna Association (GTA), said Ghana is overfishing its fish stocks and needs a holistic approach to curb this.
Mr Amarfio, who is also a fisheries advocate, said the country had exceeded the maximum sustainable yield, indicating overexploitation of fish stocks.
“That basically means we are losing our fish stock, so we have to find ways to reverse that to make sure we are sustainable.”
Mr. Amarfio said so during a seminar at the Tema regional office of the Ghana News Agency.
The platform enabled state and non-state actors to address national issues.
The GTA secretary said overcapacity was a major contributor to the rapid decline of Ghana’s fish stocks, adding that there was too much fishing activity going on in the country’s marine spaces making recovery nearly impossible lost fish stocks.
He expressed concern that capacity would increase due to the open access fishing system that Ghana was using in the absence of a functioning regulatory mechanism.
He therefore called for other interventions such as a pension scheme to complete the season shutdown, as this alone would not solve the overcapacity problem.
He explained that according to data from the latest fisheries management plan, a World Bank project, Ghana has about 15,000 canoes against the 9,000 canoes as the necessary limit in its waters, with 6,000 canoes in excess.
He said the country in the past had over 100 trawlers compared to the proposed 45. Currently the country has accepted 75 trawlers in its waters.
Mr. Amarfio also reiterated calls for a special pension scheme for old fishermen to provide them with a decent source of income in old age, which would facilitate their early retirement, which would lead to long-term estrangement from many of them from the sector.
He said that alongside the pension, a deliberate educational policy for young people from fishing communities should be initiated to absorb them into other vocations to reduce the over-reliance on fishing activities in coastal communities.
“If I was a fisherman, I have three kids and each of them has five kids, and we all decide to go into fishing, that’s a lot of one family.
“A canoe may be too small for us, and we may need more; the more families may need to rely solely on fishing, the more capacity increases, but if you provide children with alternative education and vocations, not all of them will have to come back into the industry,” he said. Explain.