Enforcing fisheries laws need dedication of stakeholders - Fisheries Commission
Mr Daniel Awuku Nyanteh, Western Regional Chief Fisheries Research Assistant of the Fisheries Commission (FC), says Ghana has adequate laws for the management of marine fisheries resources but required full commitment of stakeholders to enforce them for maximum benefits.
'We have several laws to back the management of the fisheries resources but sometimes enforcement is the problem'.
Mr Nyanteh, who is also a member of the Western Command Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) said 'sometimes people attempt to undermine the authority of the FEU and this practice must stop'.
He was speaking at a fishermen's forum organised by the Anomabo Traditional Council as part of a week-long activities to mark this year's Okyir festival, celebrated by the chiefs and people of Anomabo.
It was facilitated by Friends of the Nation (FoN) with support from the Far Ban Bo Project, which was funded by the European Union (EU).
According to Mr Nyanteh, Ghana had reached a point where politics must be taken out of fisheries issues, adding that 'we need to collectively, work towards one common goal. NGO's, government, opinion leaders, fishermen and everybody including the media must play their part'.
He said as fishermen and other stakeholders were witnessing the effects of the continual depletion of the sea, it presented an opportune time for them to support all progressive efforts to salvage the situation.
He said until the fishermen changed their attitude and practised responsible fishing, they would continue to record low catch.
He expressed worry that, despite the fact that some fishermen had been arrested, prosecuted and fined, yet, illegal, unregulated, unreported (IUU) fishing practises persisted in most fishing communities in Ghana.
Speaking about the close season for next year, Mr Nyanteh stated that the FC had the capacity to enforce close season in 2019 and that 'the 2019 close season will come on and no fisherman will have an excuse to kick against it'
'We have already created the awareness in the minds of the fisher folks that without proper co-management, the sea will dry and it will affect their livelihoods' he added.
Nana Mbroba Dabo I, Queen Mother of Anomabo Traditional Area, explained that the fishermen's day was instituted as part of activities to mark the celebration of their festival to educate them on IUU practices.
She emphasised that the continuous decline of fisheries stock was hugely due to the behaviour and attitude of fishermen and admonished them desist from bad practices.
She encouraged them to be watchdogs and report those engaged in IUU to the appropriate authorities for punishment.
The decline in fish stock, she noted was affecting the community socio-economically as many children had become school drop outs due to poverty.
Corporal Agyemang Opambour, a member of the Western Command FEU, urged the fishermen to voluntarily comply with fishing laws and regulations and see the sea as their own property which must be protected from damage.
By Afedzi Abdullah/ Isaac Asirifi, GNA