Players in Ghana’s fisheries sector are calling for the implementation of transparency and accountability standards to help improve the sector.
According to them, this will help address the mirage of challenges faced by the sector in the country as the fish stocks in the country’s waters keep going down every day.
These calls were made at the maiden roundtable discussion on improving transparency and accountability in the governance of Ghana’s fisheries in Accra, which was organised by the two EU-funded fisheries projects, Far Dwuma Nkodo and Far Ban Bo.
The aim of these projects is to secure sustainable fisheries and protect the livelihoods of fisherfolk that depend on them.
The “Far Dwuma Nkodo” project is implemented by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) and Hen Mpoano, while the “Far Ban Bo” project is implemented by Care International, Friends of the Nation and Oxfam.
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Speaking on behalf of the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, a deputy Director at the ministry, Thomas Insaidoo, said for the fisheries sector to be protected and effectively sustained, it is important to ensure transparency and accountability.
He commended the two EU projects for the initiative in leading the discourse on transparency in the sector.
He disclosed that the ministry, has over the years put in place a lot of measures to ensure that fisheries resource and livelihoods of those that depends on it are protected.
Speaking on the FiTi standards, a representative from the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FITI) Secretariat, Andrea Durighello disclosed that transparency requires the support and participation of all stakeholders in decision-making, adding that credible information is essential to effective law enforcement, and to fight illegal fishing and corruption”.
Ms Durighello disclosed that the FiTi standards sets out 12 requirements for transparency along the fisheries sector value chain. This includes publication of fishing authorisations and their conditions in terms of costs, fishing gear and species, as well as data on small-scale fisheries to reflect their value to the economy and ensure they have space in decision-making.”
Representatives from the various fisheries associations, CSO’s and Donor partners participated in the roundtable.
In their deliberations, they called on government to commit fully on Ghana’s interest with the FITI Secretariat.
Similarly, the stakeholders called on the ministry to routinely publish and update key information on the sector, including fines for fisheries offences, out of court settlements, observer reports, licence lists and limits on vessels per year as well as annual reports of the Fisheries Commission.
They also expressed worry about the fronting of Ghanaians to secure register and secure license for industrial trawlers for foreign nationals, adding that, it is collapsing the sector gradually.