Tema, April 11, GNA - The Ghana Tuna Association (GTA) has urged the government to expedite action on the establishment of the proposed Tuna Faculty at the Regional Maritime Academy (RMA) to train the requisite Ghanaian personnel in tuna fishing in order to promote the fishing industry.
The outgoing President of the GTA, Mr Joseph K. Kudjordji, who is the Managing Director of Signotrade Limited, noted that the continued dependence on expatriate fishing personnel to man most companies of the industry was hampering progress.
He made the call at Tema on Monday during which a six-member executive was elected for the association for a four-year term of office. Mr Kudjordji said, realizing that Ghanaians lacked expertise in the fishing industry, a proposal came up six years ago with support of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to establish a Tuna Faculty at the RMA to train fishermen, but this has not being realised. The fishing companies have therefore, been relying on the expertise of the expatriate fishing personnel.
He mentioned high fuel prices, low export prices offered by fish processing companies and high cost of maintenance of vessels, as hindrances to the progress of the industry and called on the government to address them to save it from collapse.
"Unless the government intervenes to assist to introduce new and modern vessels into the system, the industry may not survive very long", Mr Kudjordji warned.
He asked members of the GTA to honour their obligation under the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) by paying their dues promptly.
He said Ghana became credible, when members of the ICCAT paid their dues else, the GTA would remain in a dilemma, as punitive measures could be sanctioned against it for defaulting payment of dues.
The newly elected president, Mr John Augustus Farmer, MD of Agnespark Fisheries Limited in his acceptance speech, pledged to pursue policies that would help revive the tuna fishing industry in the country, as well as cooperate with their sector Ministry and all relevant stakeholders. Other members of the executives are Mr Kodwo Hayford, Vice President, Mr Samuel Boye Ayertey MD of Trust Allied Fishing Ventures, and Mr Nicholas Okyere of Panofi Company Limited, as secretary and treasurer respectively, while Mr T. Y. Lee, Director of World Marine Company Limited and Mr Kudjordji were elected executive members.