Posted by: The ocean update | April 15, 2015

Illegal fishing costs Ghana millions of dollars annually

fishing-reutersWednesday, April 15th, 2015 (Dasmani Laary). Overuse of unlawful fishing methods and poaching have caused Ghana’s fish stock to decline rapidly resulting in the West African country losing $100 million each year.

Ghana’s fishing sector is said to add about $1 billion to government revenues annually and provides livelihood to about 10 per cent of Ghanaians covering about 4 million fishers and their dependents.

The sector also provides about 60 per cent of animal protein needs to Ghanaians, Solomon Kusi Ampofo, communications coordinator of Friends of the Nation, a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) told The Africa Report.

A majority of the youth also depend on the sector for employment and income, significantly contributing to poverty reduction.

But, the fisheries sector has now seen a rapid a decline, which stakeholders attribute to lack of political-will on the part of government to enforce the law and ensure compliance to curtail application of the illegal fishing methods and theft in Ghanaian territorial waters.

“This has allowed rampant illegal and unsustainable fishing practices including, the use of chemicals, light, dynamites and explosives, small mesh size nets,” Ampofu told journalists at a news briefing.

“Nowadays, fishermen spend more time, more energy, more money, and more effort but get less and less fish each day,” he added.

The use of illegal methods, coupled with lack of political will to enforce the law and provide logistics for patrolling the sea, FoN programmes manager, Kyei Kwadwo Yamoah said, was contributing to “destructive harvesting and over fishing”.

He expressed fear that this could eventually lead to a gradual collapse of the sector.

“There is steady decline in the fishing sector, if the sector declines and collapses, this is food security issue and national security issue, government must act to protect the sector,” he said.

Ghana’s fishing regulations require the development of a comprehensive fisheries enforcement and compliance strategy – voluntary compliance and deterrence.

But Yamoah said short and long term measures were also required as a foundation to support the implementation of effective compliance and enforcement of actions.

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