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14.07.2005 Business & Finance

Govt committed to regulate the fishing industry - Dugan

GNA

Dzemeni (V/R) July 14, GNA - Mr Daniel Dugan, Deputy Minister of Fisheries, on Thursday called on fishermen to see Government's attempts to enact laws to regulate the fishing industry as part of measures to make sure that there was always adequate fish stock.

He said these laws were essential to make sure that fishermen were not allowed to fish all the time so as to deplete all the fishing stocks. With this, the fish would be allowed to replenish their stocks. Mr Dugan said this when he interacted with the District Lake Management Committee and the people of Dzemeni in the Volta Region on progress of the Sustainable Fisheries Livelihood Programme (SFLP) in the community.

SFLP is a partnership between the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the British Department for International Development (DfID), which is aimed at reducing poverty and improving livelihood through sustainable participatory management of water bodies' aquatic resources in the Asuogyaman, Kpando and Jasikan Districts.

It is also aimed at developing alternative livelihood programmes in the fishing communities and other income generating activities like Kente weaving, snail farming and batik making. The Deputy Minster said the fishing stocks in the country's water bodies were depleting annually because most fishermen were over fishing. "For now, we do not know the number fish in our water bodies and everything must be done to make sure that we do not deplete all the stocks."

Mr Dugan said some of these bad fishing practices had led to fish stocks dwindling to the extent that the country for some time now had had to import fish to meet the local demand. "There should be a period where we stop fishing so that we can allow the fishes to replenish their stock."

He said the alternative livelihood programme was to make sure that people within the fishing communities had order jobs to do apart from fishing especially in the lean season.

Mr Dungan said these would also ensure that the youth in these areas had jobs to do so as to prevent rural-urban migration. "The vision of the President to establish the programme was not only to improve upon the fishing industry but also improve upon the livelihood of people living in the fishing communities." The Deputy Minister said the Ministry was committed to reduce illegal fishing on the Volta Lake by introducing a nets exchange programme for fishermen to voluntarily hand in illegal fishing nets in exchange for legal ones at a subsidized rate.

Mr Dugan called on people living in these communities to do everything on their part to keep their environment clean so as attract a lot of tourists.

Togbe Gbogbolulu, Chairman of the Dzemeni District Management Committee, expressed the community's support for the successful implementation of the project.

He called on the Ministry to support the education of the fishermen in the community so as to make them to realise the essence of its efforts to regulate the fishing industry.

The Deputy Minister also toured Wusuta Kepme, Abotoase Jasikan and Ablorgah where he inspected projects under the (SELP) like the improved mud stoves, Chokor Smoker and Kente weaving start-up programme.

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