Ministry reviews fisheries, aquaculture policy

BY: Emelia Ennin Abbey
Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, the Minister of  Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, addressing the validation workshop
Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, addressing the validation workshop

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has commenced a review of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy to provide a strategic direction for the development of fisheries and aquaculture in Ghana.

In line with the revision process, the ministry yesterday organised a validation workshop for selected stakeholders in the fisheries sector to come up with proposals to revise the existing 2008 National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy.

The participants were drawn from the Ghana Maritime Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency, civil society organisations and the Water Research Institute (WRI), with academia represented by the University of Cape Coast, the University of Ghana and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

The participants are also to incorporate relevant emerging issues and address the challenges confronting the sector, with the objective of sustaining the fisheries sector for national development.

Why revision

The revision of the 14-year-old policy has become necessary following significant changes in the fisheries sector at both the national and the international levels since the first National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy came into effect in 2008.

Additionally, over the years, the fisheries sector has been confronted with issues related to climate change, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, gear development, small-scale fisheries, gender and youth, co-management, high sea fisheries, as well as inadequate technology and infrastructure capacity.

Consolidation

At the opening of the validation workshop, the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, said considering the changes and challenges in the sector, it had become crucial to revise the 2008 National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy to provide a strategic direction for the development of fisheries and aquaculture in Ghana.

She explained that the revised policy would consolidate the gains made from the implementation of the 2008 policy by offering a strategic way forward to develop and manage the fisheries sector and also ensure the sustainable growth of the sector.

Action plan

The Executive Director of the Fisheries Commission, Mr Michael Arthur Dadzie, said with dwindling stocks in the marine sector, there had been a paradigm shift to the aquaculture sector to drive its growth to complement the marine sector.

He said changes in the sector over the years, at both the national and the international levels, were having an impact on the sector.

After the validation, Mr Dadzie explained, the document would be forwarded to the Cabinet for approval, while the implementation plan was being developed.