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18.11.2009 General News

Bad fishing methods depleting fish stock

By GNA/Ghana
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Ms Betty Bosomtwi-Sam, Deputy Western Regional Minister on Tuesday noted that fish stock in water bodies were gradually being depleted as a result of bad fishing methods.

"It is regrettable that though the fishing industry is one of the oldest, it has not been given the needed attention. As a result, it has not been able to satisfy domestic consumer demands," she said.

Ms Bosomtwi-Sam was speaking at the launch of Integrated Coastal and Fisheries Governance (ICFG) programme in Takoradi, which seeks to provide an alternative means of livelihood for communities in the six coastal districts of the Western Region namely, Ahanta West, Ellembelle, Jomoro, Nzema East, Shama and Sekondi Takoradi.

She said the old method of fishing by hook, the use of lights, among others, made no distinction between fingerlings and mature fish, thereby, destroying fingerlings and thus depriving fishermen of better future harvest.

Mr Mark Fenn, the ICFP Programme Director explained that the ICFP is a four-year initiative supported by the United State Agency for International Development (USAID).

He said its goal was to support government in achieving its fisheries development objectives, ensure poverty reduction, food security, sustainable management and conservation by contributing to addressing the over exploitation of fishery resources and decline of fish stocks.

Mr Fenn said the country's coastal and marine ecosystems should be managed in a sustainable manner to provide goods and services that generate long term socio-economic benefits to communities while sustaining biodiversity.

He explained that the programme seeks to address the high population growth rates, high poverty and poorly planned coastal communities, weak capacity for governance of coastal and fisheries resources as well as threat to biodiversity assets including wetlands, lagoons,
mangroves, turtle nesting areas among others.

According to him, the four-year programme is expected to strengthened human and institutional capacity for coastal and fisheries management, improve fisheries management strategies and improve environmental conditions in selected sites and areas.

He added that the programme would raise awareness on key issues and challenges such as over fishing, promote diversified livelihood strategies for coastal fishing households as well as develop and implement fisheries management plans.

Ms Cheyl Anderson, the Country Director of USAID said the main challenge for this program and the fishing communities in the region were to effectively manage the inshore or artisanal fisheries.

She noted that while aquaculture is one economic activity that might help some communities, it was not a solution to the problem.

"Sound management of the entire ecosystem, including mangroves, the shoreline and the in-shore area are essential to conserve the coastal ecosystem for the future generations", she said.

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