The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Sherry Ayittey, says her outfit has taken an aggressive step to reverse the sector’s declining fortunes.

She said the ministry has developed a Fisheries Management Plan to guide operational activities in the sector, and also introduced close seasons in addition to the provision of additional licencing conditions for trawlers to combat mid-bottom trawling and transhipment.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s “Fish Festival” in Tema, the minister indicated that these measures coupled with passage of the Fisheries Regulation LI 2217 (2015) will help to tackle the various negative practices that have bedevilled the sector.

She said in her remarks: “The marine fisheries sector comprises of industrial, semi-industrial and artisanal sub-sectors, and these have been the bedrock of the economy.

“Sector-actors will now have to apply environmentally-friendly methods and technology in their trade, as observance of sustainable fisheries governance policies will be key in the replenishment of fish stocks for increased harvests during the fishing season.”

The sector remains challenged by the use of unauthorised fishing methods like dynamite, DDT, mono-filament nets in marine waters, and light-fishing.

The “Fish Festival” is an annual event to appreciate indefatigable fishermen and women for their contribution to national development and their hard work in ensuring food security, access to quality fish and wealth-creation.

This year’s event on the theme ‘Promoting sustainable fisheries and aquaculture for national development’, will be celebrated on the October 20, 2015 at Prampram.

A recent World Bank study indicates that the fisheries sector is losing an estimated US$50billion annually due to dwindling catches resulting from illegal, unregulated and unreported and other related factors.

Ms. Ayittey said in spite of its significant contribution to Ghana’s socio-economic development, the sector has not been able to achieve its full potential — with poverty still raging high in many fishing communities; adding that sustainability in this light of the fisheries sector has become a key issue that requires a holistic approach.

She indicated that the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) of her ministry will continue to educate and strictly enforce laws regulating operations in the sector, in collaboration with the marine police and navy.

Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram Constituency, Enock Teye Mensah, cautioned fishermen against using unorthodox methods in fishing and rather adhere to the rules and regulations of the industry in order to have the needed fish stocks to meet both local and international demands.

Paramount Chief of Tema, Nii Osonga Adjei Kraku II, said the use of negative methods in fishing is alarming, hence depletion of the country’s waters — urging players to use scientific methods in their fishing activities.

He also appealed to the sector ministry to ensure strict enforcement of the law, as it will sustain the country’s territorial waters for both local and foreign revenue generation.

Credit: B&FT