ACCRA, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stressed the need to curb illegal fishing methods and over-exploitation of Ghana’s marine resources in order not to compromise the country’s food security.

Although population growth can be said to be a contributory factor, the twin-evils of illegal fishing and over-exploitation of our marine resources have worsened an already dire situation. This cannot continue to happen, as it threatens the very essence of our existence, he said at the welcoming ceremony of a Norwegian fisheries research vessel at the Port of Tema, some 30 kilometres east of here, Thursday.

The research vessel, which is on its maiden expedition to West Africa, is in Ghana to assess the marine stock levels in the country’s waters. The vessel’s programme has been unique in training scientists and equipping them with the necessary tools to assess stocks of fishes.

The state-of-the-art vessel, owned by the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation, was built as part of the United Nation’s (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) project to help develop the fisheries management of developing countries.

This is the second time in two years that a research vessel is docking in Ghana. The country will benefit from the programme which enables countries to receive technical and scientific support and refocus the management of their fisheries through the adoption and implementation of an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) and national fisheries research institutions.

There are four Ghanaian scientists working with the many others on the vessel.

President Akufo-Addo said: We may have little or no control over climate fluctuations or changes, but one thing we can have control over is our day-to-day activities. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) methods are depleting our fish stocks. Our beautiful coastal wetlands are threatened by high volumes of plastic and metal waste that choke breeding habitats for fish. This must not be allowed to continue.

The President disclosed that an Inter-Ministerial approach to curb the menace was afoot, saying, Together we can protect endangered species, achieve food security, and protect our ocean for the future.

Government, he indicated, had instituted a Fisheries Management Plan to guarantee the long term conservation of Ghana’s waters and marine stocks. The plan aims to reduce the excessive pressure on marine stock; engender effective legislation; strengthen participatory decision-making; and meeting regional and international obligations.


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