The Central and Western Fishmongers Improvement Association (CEWEFIA) on Tuesday, honoured sixteen fishmongers from three fishing communities in the Western and Central Regions for adopting hygienic fish handling and other best post-harvest practices.

Additionally, some landing beaches were honoured for their voluntary compliance and adoption of sustainable fishing while others received awards for the most exemplary fishing practices, demonstrating exemplary practice skills and “most outstanding fisheries leadership, among others.

The communities are Moree, Elmina in the Central Region and Anlo Beach in the Western Region.

Seven Community anti Child Labour and Trafficking (CLaT) advocates from Moree and Elmina were as well awarded.

They were presented with plastic chairs, wheel barrows, basins and some fishing gear, including fishing wire mesh.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Fisheries Ministry under the Sustainable Fisheries Management Projects (SMFP) is promoting responsible fishing to ensure a better fishing industry in Ghana.

The award ceremony was held under the theme: “Rewarding Outstanding Voluntary Initiatives towards rebuilding our Fisheries”.

Mr Kwame Damoah,Mfantseman Zonal Director of the Fisheries Commission, speaking at the award ceremony at Elmina, commended the awardees for going about their businesses in a more acceptable way.

He encouraged them to continue to comply with the regulations and laws regarding fishing to ensure a better fishing industry.

Mr Damoah said landing beach enforcement committee would be established to help to strictly enforce the Fisheries Acts and regulations and also continue to educate fishermen on the dos and don’ts of the laws and regulations for voluntary compliance.

He mentioned the issuance of Identification cards (ID) for canoe mangers and numbering of canoes on the seas as some of the measures being undertaking by the Fisheries Commission to bring sanity in the industry and called on the fishermen to comply accordingly.

He said preserving the fishing industry would help increase food security and rebuild Ghana’s fish stocks in the long-term and urged all stakeholders to commit to that course.

Mr Damoah bemoaned the rampant disputes among chief fishermen, which he said had been a major obstacle in Government’s efforts to address their challenges.

Mr Emmanuel Ofori Osei, Central Regional Regulatory Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority underscored the need for fishmongers to process wholesome fish for consumption by the public.

He commended CEWEFIA for introducing and training fishmongers on the use of ‘Ahoto oven’ and encouraged them to demystify all negative perceptions and embrace it.

Mr Victoria Churchill Koomson, Executive Director of CEWEFIA, explained that the awards was to recognise fishermen and fishmongers who supported sustainable post-harvest practices and had the initiative to preserve the country’s marine resources.

She said it was also to encourage fishermen and fishmongers to join the campaign on hygienic fish handling and the using of the improved fish smoking stove and other best practices being championed by SFMP.

In all, Anlo Beach in the Western Region was adjudged the most influential hygienic fish handling community.

Source: GNA/NewsGhana.com.gh

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