Team up to buy fishing vessels – Dep. Fisheries Minister urges fishers

BY: Shirley Asiedu-Addo & Zadok Kwame Gyesi
File photo
File photo

The Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mr Moses Anim, has encouraged Ghanaian nationals in the fisheries sector to pull resources together to enable them purchase and actively participate in the governance and management of fishing vessels in the country.

This, he believes, would reduce the nation’s over dependence on co-owning ventures with foreigners.

He explained that vessels solely owned and managed by Ghanaians would improve control and management of the fishery resources in a way that would benefit Ghanaians.

Mr Anim was speaking at a media training workshop organised for media practitioners in the West African Sub-region under the Improving Fisheries Governance project in Accra on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

The Improving Fisheries Governance (IFG) Project is being implemented by Hen Mpoano, Friends of the Nation (FoN), Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), TM Tracking (TMT), Fisheries for Committee for Western and Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC). The IFG Project which implemented in Ghana and the wider sub-region is being funded by Ocean 5 and Oak Foundation.

The three-year project aims to strengthen government and industry commitment to improve fisheries governance in the key policy areas of enhanced transparency, law enforcement, collaborative management, and capacity of key stakeholders in Ghana and the West African region.

The research sought to highlight the challenges that Ghanaian crew members on fishing vessels face in their line of work.

Train Ghanaians

The Deputy Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister expressed the concern over the current situation where many trawlers though co-owned by Ghanaians and foriegners had their operations monopolized the by foreigners often neglecting the interests of Ghana to the background saying this must change.

Mr Annim further charged the Ghana Maritime University to train more Ghanaians in technical areas of vessel operations such that Ghanaian nationals could take over the trawl sector when foreign nationals leave to their countries.

For him, Ghanaians by birth had intrinsic right to licenses to operate in the trawl sector and must take advantage of the several opportunities in the area to maximise gains.

He said the country’s fisheries resources had great potential to reduce poverty, create jobs and also improve food security, hence the need for Ghanaian nationals to take advantage of the sector.

The Media

The media training was organised by Hen Mpoano, a non-governmental organisation in the fisheries sector with support from the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) to equip the participants with the relevant information on fisheries governance in the West African sub-region.

The FCWC was established in 2007 to promote and facilitate cooperation in fisheries management between the FCWC’s member countries—Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Liberia, Benin, and Cote d'Ivoire.

The workshop was attended by media practitioners from Ghana, Benin, Togo, and Cote d’Ivoire.

Rationale of the training

Touching on the essence of the workshop, the Executive Director of Hen Mpoano, Mr Kofi Agbogah, said fisheries issues in the West African sub-region had been relegated to the background and that it was the media that had the capacity break the silence.

He said the media had the responsibility to demand good fisheries governance, management and transparency practices from the duty bearers and players in the sector.

For him, the workshop was organised in order to get the media practitioners in the West African sub-region to have better understanding of the fisheries sector in the region.

Help fight IUU

The Secretary General of the FCWC, Mr Seraphin Dedi Nadje, charged media practitioners in the FCWC countries to help fight IUU fishing since the practice was having a dire toll on the region’s fisheries resources.

He said the region’s fisheries sector was challenged by many IUU practices and needed the collaboration of the media and other state actors to be able to deal with the menace.