Regulate illegal fishing – Fish processors tell government

Mrs Regina Solomon, the President, National Fish Processors Association, has appealed to government to regulate and sanction perpetrators of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing to prevent the collapse of the industry. She said some fishermen illegally used light to attract and harvest fishes. The President said others injected fishes with insulin in the absence of ice for preservation. Mrs Solomon said those practices were destroying marine life and must be checked in time. She made the appeal at the 2023 National Fish Festival held in Accra on Monday on the theme: 'Developing Ghana's Blue Economy for Sustainable Fisheries Management and National Development'. Mrs Solomon said people were doing illegal fishing openly due to the absence of a punishment regime, saying 'If there would be laws to punish illegal fishers, it will really help to sustainably manage the fisheries sector. If there are sanctions like seizing of canoes or outboard motors of illegal fishers for some period, it will at least scare them off illegal activities.' 'Because when these illegal things are done to the fishes, we take them to the market, and nobody wants to buy because everyone of course wants to buy good fish,' she said. Ghana in 2021 received a second yellow card from the EU after being identified as a non-cooperating third party State in fighting IUU fishing. The issuance followed the widespread of IUU fishing practices in the country, ineffective implementation of the management instruments developed, including weak enforcement of the revised laws leading to the prevalence of illegal fishing activities. Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, in a statement read on her behalf, said it was important that actors in the fishery value chain managed the sector sustainably to safeguard it, as a key element towards the attainment of the SDG 14 - life below water. Speaking on the theme, she said blue economy helped to control climate change and provided livelihood to millions of the public, hence, the theme reflected commitment to ensure marine and coastal resources were managed in an efficient manner. On the celebration of the festival, Mrs Koomson said it provided a platform for the Ministry to join the global fishery community to observe World Fisheries Day to sustainably mange fishery resources. It was also to celebrate the hard work of actors in the fishery value chain who diligently worked to ensure citizens met their animal protein requirement. The festival had activities like presentations from the Ministry, stakeholders, the fishery community, development partners, panel discussions, exhibition of fishes, music and dance, and cookery demonstrations. Eno Ofori Atta, the Deputy Managing Director, Agricultural Development Bank, who chaired the occasion, said the theme was a clarion call on all to ensure a sustainable use of the ocean to promote economic growth while preserving the health of the ecosystem. She said there was the need for Ghana to take concrete steps to improve its blue economy, hence assured the Ministry of her institution's full support as it led the charge. Mr Simon Agah, the Acting President, National Fisheries Association of Ghana, called for the challenges confronting the sustainable management of fisheries to be addressed because, fisheries was one of the pillars of the economy. Among them was plastic pollution on the beaches, and fishing with light, illegal nets and chemicals that destroyed the environment and marine lives. He also called for measures to be instituted to strictly regulate fishing to ensure that people voluntarily adhered to the regulations governing the sector. Source: Ghana News Agency