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The 2017 World Fisheries Day has been marked with a renewed commitment by players in the fishing industry to address Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The commitment of the stakeholders comes at the heels of the dwindling fish stock caused by bad fishing practices and inadequate enforcement of the fisheries laws.
Marking this year’s celebration at Dixcove, a fishing community in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region, the players which include fish mongers, fishermen, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Fisheries Commission, the Marine Police Unit and the Ghana Navy, pledged to join hands to salvage the dwindling fish stock.
Whiles fish mongers and fishermen performed a drama to drum home the need for responsible fishing, CSOs and law enforcement agencies admonished fishermen to comply with the fishing regulations.
Addressing the gathering, the Director in-charge of Marine, Ports and Railways of the Ghana Police Service (GPS), ACOP Samuel Owusu Berko, said the situation was worrying and must be addressed without any delay.
“Of late, seasonal bumper fish catches have become history and this could be attributed to rampant violation of fisheries laws and regulations such as light fishing, the use of unauthorized nets and transshipment”, he said.
“Unless the trend is quickly reversed, the country will pay a heavy price in terms of food insecurity or worse”, he said.
He noted that “there are adequate laws to regulate fishing activities but their enforcement is weak due to poor logistics, inadequate law enforcement personnel and limited public education”.
He, therefore, called for the strengthening of the Marine Police Unit to enable it tackle the problem head-on.
He also called for the cooperation and support of all stakeholders especially, fishermen to address the situation.
The event was also used to explain to the fishing community, the four-year ‘Far Ban Bo’ project which aims at addressing the depleting fish stock.
The two-million euro project has 80 percent counterpart funding from the European Union whiles its implementers- Friends of the Nation, Care International and Oxfam, cover the remaining 20 percent.
The project is being run in five fishing communities- Dixcove in the Western Region, Anomabo in the Central Region, James Town in the Greater Accra Region and Kedzekope and Kpando-Torkor in the Volta Region.
Source: Marlvin-James Dadzie