A training workshop for selected journalists across country has ended in Accra.


The two-day workshop aimed to update the knowledge of the participants about Ghana’s fisheries sector to assist a consortium working on a four-year European Union (EU)-funded fisheries project— The Far Ban Bo project.


The Far Ban Bo Project, which targets coastal fishing communities in 30 districts in the Western, Central, Greater Accra and the Volta Regions, focusses on tenure rights security for fish landing sites and a pilot mechanism for grievance and dispute resolution among the fisher groups.


The overall objective of the project is to contribute to sustainable fisheries management and to improve food security and nutrition, and the livelihood of smallholder fishers and other users of fisheries resources— with emphasis on improved fisheries governance.


About 30 participants attended the workshop, which was organized by Oxfam in Ghana in partnership with CARE International, a leading humanitarian Non-Governmental Organization and a global confederation of 14 members working together to fight poverty, and Friends of the Nation, an environmental campaigning community dedicated to the wellbeing and protection of the natural world and everyone in it.


Participants were taken through topics such as the Fisheries sector, its growth, contribution to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) and key challenges; the Fisheries Act, 2002 (Act 625) and its Amendments and Regulations; Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT); Fisheries Management Plan and key challenges of plan implementation; the Legislative Instrument  (L.I.) on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing,which includes all fishing that breaks fisheries laws or occurs outside the reach of fisheries laws and regulations, and enforcement, and the media’s role in addressing issues of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU).


In a presentation, Mr Boachie-Yiadom, Co-ordinator, Monitoring and Advocacy/IUU, identified the absence of effective management as a key reason for the over exploitation of most of the fisheries resources in West Africa.


In addition, Mr Boachie-Yiadom mentioned the use of undersized mesh nets, explosives and chemicals; use of monofilament nets, operation of beach seines close to estuaries, landing of undersized fish/juvenile fish; and offshore petroleum activities in Ghana, as key challenges to the development of the fisheries sector.


The others challenges, he said, were the use of light for fishing; fishing without license; buying, selling and illegal use of registration numbers; Illegal construction of semi-industrial vessels; and the Illegal registration of semi-industrial vessel.


On industrial fisheries (trawlers and shrimpers), he identified the challenges as landing of under-sized fish—Operating in the Inshore Exclusive Zone (IEZ) i.e. below the 30m zone; pair trawling and fishing without license.


There was, therefore, the need, Mr Boachie-Yiadom said, to enforce compliance with all fisheries laws and Regulations.


The Far Ban Bo Project Co-ordinator, Mr Kwame Mensah, in a presentation explained that VGGT did not replace existing national laws or international laws, commitments, treaties or agreements.


Rather, Mr Menah said VGGT encompassed  the principles of human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR),  and could be used by many different actors to improve the governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests.


He noted that although the VGGT required voluntary compliance and not legally binding, it served as a reference and set out principles and internationally accepted standard for the practices of responsible governance of tenure.


Ghanaian fisheries are based on resources from the marine and inland waters, with annual fish requirement estimated at 880,000 metric tons. However, the annual fish production averages 420,000 metric tons, while part of the deficit is met through imports and aquaculture production.


The absence of effective management has led to over exploitation of most of the fisheries resources leading to the intervention of the Far Ban Bo Project.



Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)