Job creation, revenue generation in fisheries sector significant — Chief of Staff
The Chief of Staff, Mrs Frema Osei-Opare, has said the fisheries and aquaculture sector play a crucial role in the provision of employment and revenue generation opportunities for many African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) member countries.
She said the sector also contributed to ensuring food and nutritional security and the well-being of many communities, particularly those in ACP small island developing states (SIDS).
According to Mrs Osei-Opare, the sector continued to be one of the most traded food commodities, with 60 of the 79 ACP states engaged in the export of fisheries and aquaculture products, with fish export accounting for half of the total value of traded commodities in some ACP states.
The Chief of Staff was speaking at the launch of the seventh conference of ministers in charge of fisheries and aquaculture in member countries of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) in Accra.
The biennial ministerial meeting, scheduled for April 5 to 8, 2022, is expected to bring together policy makers from 79 countries, including 48 African countries, development partners and international organisations.
The conference will be on the theme: "OACPS Blue economic agenda 2030 — Catalysing sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development for the future".
It is aimed at supporting the realisation of the goals and ambitions of OACPS regions and member countries for the sustainable development of their fisheries and aquaculture sectors.
The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, said Ghana could benefit from the shared experiences of participants during the conference.
She said the event would coincide with the commemoration of the World Earth Day aimed at gathering global focus and attention to the planet earth and its environment, including the oceans, as well as inland water bodies.
The minister added that participants would focus their attention and energies on measures to harness the benefits of the blue economy and also address activities that threatened the oceans and the environment, including illegal fishing and plastic pollution.
She, therefore, urged corporate bodies and fisheries resource users in the country to support the ministry to make the upcoming conference successful.
The Executive Director of the Fisheries Commission, Mr Michael Arthur Dadzie, said the ACP fisheries mechanism was formed in 2009 to reinforce the key role that fisheries and aquaculture played in the socio-economic development of member states.
The priority areas included actions to ensure the effective management of fisheries, obtaining optimal returns from fisheries trade, the development of aquaculture, enhancement of food security and preservation of the environment, he said.
Since its inception, he said, high-level ministerial meetings had been held to determine policy and strategic options for the implementation of actions for the sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture for member countries.
According to Mr Dadzie, Ghana was chosen as the host of the conference at the sixth meeting of the organisation in Samoa in the Pacific in 2019.
The hosting of the meeting is rotational among the three regional blocs of the ACP Group (Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific).
Since its inception in 2009, six meetings have been held in Belgium, The Seychelles, Fiji, Belgium, The Bahamas and Samoa.