Elmina(C/R), April 25, GNA - Dr Alhanssan Yakubu, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Food and Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs, has urged stakeholders in the fisheries industry to respect and implement fisheries research findings to help sustain the industry.
He said the fisheries industry has over the years recorded low yields as a result of improper management and the failure to make efficient use of research findings in the industry.
Dr Yakubu said this at the opening of a two-day “Ghana Coastal Fisheries Governance Dialogue” at Elmina in the Central Region.
The dialogue jointly organized by the “Hen Mpoano Project” a local NGO based in the Western Region and the USAID, is under the theme “Sustainable Coastal Livelihood and Food Security” and is being attended by fishmongers, fisheries interest groups, fish managers as well as regional, national and international governance researchers and practitioners.
Dr Yakubu said managing and sustaining fresh water resources was a critical situation and that it was imperative for stakeholders to apply themselves in addressing the situation and that government institutions should take decisions that would work for the growth of the industry.
He said it was also important for governmental institutions to enforce regulations that would serve the present and future generations and continue to dialogue to so as to help sustain the fisheries industry.
NIi Amasa Namoale, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Fisheries, said the government has recognized an urgent need to change the way the nation's fisheries sector was being managed stressing that it was no longer going to be a reality to allow anyone to go out and purchase a boat and fish.
He in this regard said the ministry intends to address the issue of open access and carefully consider how this would be done in a fair, responsible and equitable way so as to move the sector towards sustainability.
Nii Namoale said in reforming the fisheries sector three major components made up of developing the legal and operational policy to enable implementation of the Ghana Fisheries and Aquaculture sector development plans, strengthening fisheries management, including fishing rights and stakeholder-based management and ensuring the necessary research activities for the exploitation as well as aligning fishing capacity and effort to sustainable catch level would be critically considered.
Mr Peter Trenchard, Director of the Economic Growth office of the Ghana Coastal Fisheries Governance Dialogue, said a dialogue among the users and mangers of the fisheries resources presents an essential element for good fisheries governance, consensus and respect for management prescription aimed at sustaining the resources base, stressing that there was the need for collaboration to re-store Ghana's once vibrant fishing industry.
He said the US government as part of its global feed and future programme was piloting fisheries governance programmes in many countries around the world to sustain food and livelihoods security for fishing communities and countries which are highly dependent on marine fish in their diets.
Mr Trenchard was hopeful that the dialogue would help address the issue of Ghanaian children in the worst forms of child labour in agriculture and fishing, stressing that it is important that the government of Ghana increase remediation efforts to combat the worst forms of child labour in the fishing sector.
Mr Kofi Agbogah, Deputy Director Coastal Resources Centre Ghana, in his welcoming address, said Hen Mpoano was supporting the government of Ghana to achieve its development objectives of poverty reduction, food security, sustainable fisheries management and biodiversity conservation through the dialogue.
He said the two–day dialogue would not resolve the critical issues in the fishing sector in Ghana but it was an important and essential step in identifying co-management scenarios that could help ensure food and livelihoods security in the Coastal areas.
Topics to be discussed in the Dialogue includes: Ghana's fisheries policy direction, Nested governance systems, co-management in the Gambia and lessons from the regional fisheries livelihood programme.