By Afedzi Abdullah, GNA
Cape Coast, Nov. 25, GNA - Fisheries Associations from communities in the four coastal Regions in Ghana have signed a compact agreement, pledging to promote and commit to responsible fishing practices.
The agreement, dubbed: 'Fisherman to Fisherman (F2F) Compact', has four main objectives; to help fight illegal fishing, unreported catches, unregulated fishing; and to promote responsible fishing towards food security.
It is also to assist the Fisheries Commission in the implementation of the National Fisheries Management Plan and to make women part of the decision making process in the management of fisheries.
The Association, comprising the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC), Ghana Industrial and Trawlers Association, National Fish Processors and Traders Association (NAFPTA) and the Ghana Inshore Fishers Association, signed the agreement at a ceremony to commemorate this year's World Fisheries Day, on Tuesday.
Organised by the GNCFC and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP), the celebration featured photo exhibition and sale of fish products interspersed with cultural displays.
It was to highlight the importance of fisheries management and to encourage the participation of local fishing communities to lead the efforts of rebuilding fish stocks that are in steep decline.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Yaw Attobrah, Central Regional Director of the Fisheries Commission, said the signing of the agreement was significant as it would help to preserve and restore the sea for generations to come.
He said to adequately adhere to the agreement, fisher folks needed to change their attitude and desist from the various bad fishing practices which had contributed largely to the poor catch phenomenon.
He said there was the need for effective collaboration between the Government, fisher associations and relevant stakeholders to ensure that the fishing industry stood on its feet.
Mr Jojo Solomon, the Acting President of the GNCFC, said fishermen needed a united front to form watch dog committees to police the sea and urged his colleagues to join the efforts of the Government in protecting marine resources.
He said fishermen needed to be empowered and made to take full ownership of their occupation, which he noted, would encourage responsible fishing practices.
Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, the Omanhene of Oguaa Traditional Area, who chaired the event, commended the fisher folks for the bold decision taken and urged them to abide by what they had assigned to.
He complained about the steep decline of fish stock in recent times and expressed the need for stringent measures to be taken to protect the sea.