Government outlines measures to reduce activities of trawlers

Cape Coast- As part of efforts to replenish the country’s dwindling fishing stock, Government is determined to introduce stiff measures on the country’s waters to reduce the excessive exploitation of the fish stock.

Mr Francis Ato Cudjoe, Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, said the measures were specifically targeted at reducing the expedition of industrial trawlers on the Ghanaian marine waters.

He said the high number of trawlers on the country’s marine waters required that the Ministry and the Fisheries Commission (FC) introduced stringent regulations to mitigate their operations on the high seas.

Among the regulations is the introduction of licences that would allow a few number of trawlers to operate in turns on quarterly basis.

Mr Cudjoe made these known at the launch of the Central and Western Fishmongers Improvement Association’s (CEWEFIA) fish processing facility at Elmina on Tuesday.

The facility which was rehabilitated with funding from the US Government’s Feed the Future Initiative, would among others serve as a teaching and learning, and demonstration centre for fish processors at Elmina and its environs.

This year’s monthly ‘closed season’ would soon be announced to stop trawlers and other fishermen from fishing, he said.

The government in January 2017 placed a two months ban on fishing activities for industrial trawlers in the country in accordance with the Marine Fisheries Management Plan.

The objectives for the implementation of the closed season were to ensure that the reproduction season of fishes was not interrupted by fishing activities to ensure that the stock was replenished.

Mr Cudjoe said the fishing sector provided employment for over two million Ghanaians and Government would not sit unconcerned for it total collapse adding that, it was determined to do all that it could to recover the fishing stock.

He called on the fishermen to support the initiatives and all efforts of Government aimed at recovering fingerlings for buffer stock.

Mr Maurice Knight, the Chief of Party of the United State Agency for International Development (USAID), expressed the preparedness of the US Government to support the sustainable development of Ghana’s fisheries and coastal resources.

He said the concept of separate work areas for fish dressing, washing, processing, cooling and packaging to avoid cross contamination was a core requirement for the new Class I hygienic fish processing facility certification being implemented by the FC and the Ghana National Standards Authority.

Mr Mark Newton, USAID Energy Advisor, said the continuous abuse of the sea remained a threat to food security as well as the economic and social wellbeing of Ghanaians because a significant number of people depended on the fisheries sector for their livelihood.

He reiterated the US Government’s continued commitment to invest in Ghana’s fisheries sector and expressed the hope that such investment would improve efforts to facilitate long lasting positive change in the sector.

Mrs Victoria Koomson Churchill, Executive Director of CEWEFIA, said the Association aims at encouraging fishmongers to use energy sufficient and environmentally friendly fish smoking methods to safeguard the health of the people.

Source: Ghana News Agency