Canoe fishermen council welcomes interventions in sector
The Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC) has welcomed the government's proposed reforms of the fishing industry.
It said such interventions were necessary to prevent the collapse of the sector.
The President of the council, Jojo Solomon, said they would also support the government’s plan to reduce the size of the fishing canoe fleet operating in the country’s waters.
Mr Solomon said that whereas the proposed reforms were still in their early stages, the council believed that it was necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry.
He observed that the current canoe fleet was over the capacity, leading to overfishing which, he said, was depleting fish stocks, adding that such practices could have consequences on livelihoods and jobs.
"If we do not take action now, the fishing industry will collapse and this would have a devastating impact on the livelihoods of thousands of people and could also pose security risks to the country," Mr Solomon said.
The president was speaking after an NGO, Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), donated office equipment to the council at the Tema Port in the Greater Accra Region yesterday.
The equipment which comprise a laptop, furniture and receipt books, among others valued at GH¢13,000, are to help improve the council’s administrative and communication functions to enable them to track illegal fishing activities.
Mr Solomon said his outfit had been working with the foundation to register nearly 20,000 fishers across the country.
The recent drastic decline of pelagic stocks had been blamed on overfishing, largely driven by illegal fishing of small pelagic fishes by both industrial and artisanal fleet, including overcapacity in the fishing fleet.
To reverse the decline and manage stocks to their maximum sustainable yield over the long term, the government with support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) under its Feed the Future Ghana Fisheries Recovery Activity, was seeking to reduce canoe fleets which exceeded the ideal number of canoes for sustainable fishing of small pelagic stocks.
The Programme Officer of EJF, Osei Akoto-Nyantakyi, said the donation was part of the organisation's decision to provide technical support to the council to help strengthen the capacity of members.
"In addition to providing the support, our goal is also to ensure that robust governance structures are put in place to enable members of the council effectively engage with decision-makers on issues affecting their livelihoods," he added.
Mr Akoto-Nyantakyi further expressed the hope that the equipment would help the council advocate their rights to ensure better outcomes.