African Journalists strategise to redeem depleting fishery stocks

BY: Shirley Asiedu Addo

More than 100 journalists and fisheries experts from across Africa are meeting at Elmina in the Central region for effective strategies to help restore depleting fisheries resources on the continent.

The five day workshop, is specifically aimed at schooling journalists for effective reportage on the alarming rate at which the fish stocks were being depleted.

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It also seeks to harness the power of the media to raise awareness on the challenges facing the fisheries sector in Africa.

The participants are from Tanzania, Ghana, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Gambia, Mozambique, Seychelles, Mauritius, Liberia, Cameroun and Cape Verde.

Others are from Benin, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

The workshop is being organized by the Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (IBAR) of the African Union and the World Bank in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

A Senior Fisheries Officer of IBAR, Dr Mohammed Seisay in a presentation said over 70 percent of the continents fisheries resources were over exploited.

He called for effective regional cooperation to ensure the sustainable use of fishery stocks on the continent.

Mr Brian Crawford, Director for the Sustainable Fisheries Management Project of the USIAD in Ghana noted that though there were abundant fisheries resources on the continent these resources had not been maximized for the wellbeing of the people on the continent making some the countries on the continent net importers of fish.

Mr Crawford noted in particular that some policies including fuel subsidies and open entry to the fishing industry had led to over exploitation on wild fishery stocks and called for regulated entry and a hold on fuel subsidies for fishermen to help recover stocks.

Professor Martin Tsamenyi of the University of Wollongong urged the journalists to tell stories of the destruction of the sea resources saying though fish resources contributed significantly to the economies of many countries in Africa very little media attention had been given to the sector.

He called on African countries to stop behaving individualistically and work to recover the stocks urgently.