Data key to managing Ghana's fisheries resources - Prof. Akpalu

BY: Zadok Kwame Gyesi
Professor Wisdom Akpalu
Professor Wisdom Akpalu

The Director of the Environment and Natural Resource Research Initiative (ENRRI – EfD Ghana), Professor Wisdom Akpalu, has called on stakeholders in the fisheries sector to institute a robust system that will ensure the gathering and storage of credible, quality and accessible data on the sector.

He said lack of a well-structured system to ensure the gathering and storage of credible and quality data on the fisheries sector was greatly affecting the rents (profit) that the country derived from the sector.

For him, “When citizens know more about their natural resources, it helps to know who is benefiting and what to do to ensure that, that resource is well protected.”

Prof Akpalu, who is also a Natural Resource Economist was making a presentation on importance of quality data on the fisheries sector to some key stakeholders in the sector at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) in Accra on Friday, December 10, 2021.

He said the country was being short changed in terms of rents from the fisheries sector due to inconsistencies in data, hence making it difficult to know the actuals from the sector to make accurate projections.

He said it was about time that all stakeholders, including academia, civil society organisations, ministries and agencies worked together to ensure that right data are generated on the sector to help guide decisions and policies.

“If the country is serious with the fisheries sector, the sector will be generating more than what it is currently generating,” Prof. Akpalu said, adding “we have to be very serious with our data.”

For him, if academia failed to provide the best alternatives to policy makers regarding the management of the country’s natural resources such as the fisheries resources, industry would lose interest in the work of academia.

“..So we have to work together to address the problems in the fisheries sector together,” he said, saying “If those in academia cannot provide inputs for decision making, it breaks that confidence.”

Prof. Akpalu, who is also the Dean of the School of Research and Graduate Studies of GIMPA, urged the public to be “interested in knowing more about our natural resources.”

He explained that having the right data on the sector would guide fines and taxes, hence giving the government a better picture of the sector.

He expressed the concern that the fisheries sector was frost with many unsustainable decisions due to lack of accurate data to guide policy making.

He explained, for instance, that the right data would guide the number of trawlers and canoes to be allowed to fish on the country’s waters, saying that the country was experiencing overcapacity and overcapitalisation due lack of accurate data.

ENRRI – EfD Ghana

The Environment and Natural Resource Research Initiative (ENRRI – EfD Ghana) is one of the 15 centres under the Environment for Development (EfD) Initiative, which contributes to the sustainable management of natural resources through capacity development, policy-relevant research and policy engagement.

ENRRI – EfD Ghana brings together accomplished researchers with varied expertise in environmental economics from Ghana and elsewhere to conduct evidence-based research, and advise government and development partners on policy options for managing the environment and scarce natural resources.