WORK will soon begin for the construction of six modern fishing harbours at strategic points on the nation's coast as part of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy to boost the fisheries sub-sector, President Kufuor has announced.
Government, in partnership with the Agricultural Development Bank, also plans to modernize fisheries equipment and fishing vessels with the introduction of fiberglass in the construction of motorized canoes and fishing vessels.
Addressing the 24th National Farmers" Day Celebration at Techiman Friday, President Kufuor mentioned that government will complete the construction of landing sites, cold stores and refrigeration facilities alongside the new harbours at the fishing communities to reduce the high level of post-harvest losses so as to help fishers to market their catch in a regulated and commercial manner for higher returns.
President Kufuor said government has enormously supported fish-farming sector as part of the modernization process through the provision of extention services and training programmes for the youth, especially those who have given up the galamsey bus to acquire skills in pond construction, development and management.
He disclosed that many small, medium and large fish-farms have since 2005 been established across the country with support of the aquaculture credit input programme.
"Government is impressed by the way entrepreneurs and ordinary people have embraced the Aquaculture Development Policy and the successes recorded so far.
Rules have been developed in conformity with international best practices governing the industry to guide both practicing and prospective fish farmers,' President Kufuor emphasised.
He cited a private farm in the Eastern Region for being adjudged Africa's second largest Aquaculture farm in the recent international evaluation exercise to determine potential for fish-farming in Africa.
According to the President, in the coming year, a number of alternative livelihood activities selected by the fishers themselves would be introduced in the fishing communities to enable the fishermen and fishmongers to earn incomes during the lean season.
The Minister for Fisheries, Gladys Asmah, disclosed that Ghana imports $200m worth of fish annually to make up for the country's yearly fish deficit.
Mrs. Asmah noted that the unprecedented increases in the price of crude oil during the year affected the fisheries industry where products went up due to the increases in premix fuel and other fuel used in the sector.
'In the light of the dwindling fishery resources, fish catch reduced drastically the world over and fishing companies had to spend more funds on bunkering, rigging their nets, purchasing supplies and in the payment of wages of their fishing crew,' the minister stated.
In her view, the major challenge the country's fisheries sector is facing is the lack of capacity to effectively monitor and police its exclusive economic zones.
foreign vessels. Foreign vessels are not only poaching our fish but are also using our water for other illegal activities,' she lamented.
According to her, government has since the creation of the Ministry been executing its Vessels Monitoring System in which all Ghanaian registered vessels are by regulation obligated to be fitted with transponders to enable the Ghanaian authorities monitor their movements and operations at sea.
Government, she said, is in the process of acquiring three patrol boats for the Security Agencies and the Ministry to combat illegal unregulated and unreported fishing, whilst four additional vessels will also be added to further secure the country's exclusive economic zone.