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06.07.2005 Business & Finance

Fishing industry yields low earnings


Tema, July 06, GNA -- The fishing industry produces about 57 percent of the country's fish protein needs, culminating in low export earnings. "This has come about as a result of near neglect of the industry by governments and poor management practices by the fisher folk, regulators and stakeholders over the years", Ft Lt Miltiades Godfrey Nii Tackie (RTD), National President of the National Fisheries Association of Ghana (NAFAG), said on Tuesday.

He was speaking at the commissioning of the National Secretariat of NAFAG and sod cutting for the commencement of work on a two billion-cedi multi purpose hall at Tema.

The Export Development Investment Fund (EDIF) contributed 508 million cedis towards the completion of the secretariat.

Ft-Lt Tackie called for an urgent revamping and rejuvenating of the industry to bring poverty reduction and wealth creation to the industry especially the artesinal sector that forms about 80 percent of the industry.

He said with the secretariat in place, the association would collaborate with the regulators and stakeholders for responsible and sustainable management and exploitation of the marine inland water resources in an environmentally friendly manner.

Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Fisheries, called on private investors and entrepreneurs to invest in aqua culture since it is scientific, capital intensive and more rewarding.

She said the pressure on marine fishing is getting out of hand considering the number of people engaged in marine fishing. The Minister called for teamwork by stakeholders to develop the fishing industry to appreciable international standards and stressed on adding value to the raw materials for which the Ministry would create the environment and give development direction to ensure growth. Mrs Asmah said the Ministry is considering the need to use fibreglass to refurbish fishing boats to prolong their lifespan.

On complaints that some fishermen are not getting premix fuel for their vessels, she expressed surprise because the ministry had made enough available and gave an assurance that the complaint would be investigated.

To fishmongers, she said, plans are underway to get them fish smoking ovens manufactured by the GRATIS Foundation.