The measures are aimed at reducing the effects of illegal fishing; offshore oil exploration and production; increase in national fish consumption; overexploitation of fish stocks in all water bodies; weak fisheries laws and inadequate fishing infrastructure among others.


Talking to the media here on Friday, the minister said foreign fishing vessels caught fishing illegally in Ghana’s territorial waters would be fined one million U.S Dollars, while those transshipping (exporting illegally) fish caught in Ghana’s waters would also be punished.

There are 2.7 million people employed directly or indirectly in Ghana’s fishing industry, including fishermen, fish mongers, cold store operators, fishing input merchants and fish processing industry workers.

“The government will also from next year introduce off-seasons (holidays) on the fishing calendar; a period in which no fishing is done, in order to allow for replenishing of fishing stocks for the fishing season,” Ayittey disclose.

With the continued exploration and discovery of oil offshore Ghana, fishermen have been beside themselves with fear as to the prospects of their industry in the face of the developments.

On alleviating the impact of oil exploration and production on the fishing industry, the minister disclosed that a committee has been working with the International Oil Companies (OICs) to see how best to tackle the issue of alternative livelihood for fishermen who might losetheirlivelihood as a result of the oil industry.

“The OICs have agreed to cede part of their profits which will be used to establish alternative livelihoods for as many artisanal fishermen whose work will be affected by the oil industry,” Ayittey announced.

Kwabena Darfour, and Kwaku Asafuah, both artisanal fishermen in Dixcove near Takoradi, 218 km west of the capital told Xinhua recently that they would wish all the exploratory and oil production activities were carried out far deeper into the sea so the fishing zones would be freed for the local fishermen .

Some of the illegal fishing methods employed by some fishermen include using explosives to fish, light-fishing, using carbide, pair-trawling and scrapping the ocean beds with nets that are outlawed.

National Coordinator of Fisheries Enforcement Unite (FEU) at the Ministry of Fishing, Naval Captain Emmanuel Ayesu Kwarfo said the navy have been using electronic monitoring in Ghana’s territorial waters to check illegal fishing and all other illegal activities that could take place in the seas.

“The Vessel monitoring system tracks pirates and also fishing vessels. We check the speed of vessels to see if they have the capacity to operate in the part of the sea they are found in,” Capt. Kwarfo explained.

He said the unit has been carrying out sensitization around fishing communities also where the people are made to understand the dangers in illegal fishing and other illegal activities. Enditem.

Source: Xinhua


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