Fishing, one of the oldest professions in history, which has impacted possibly on Ghana’s economy and benefited a sizable number of its citizens nutritionally and financially, is now faced with numerous challenges.
Stakeholders in the sector are thus calling on government to critically pay attention to the industry particularly as the country’s fish stock is dwindling at a fast rate.
Whiles the country’s population has increased over the years, the available fish stock appears not to have improved leaving a huge shortfall.
At a two-day workshop organized by USAID and Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (S.F.M.P) at Axim in the Western Region, journalists drawn from the coastal parts of the country were sensitized on the near collapse of Ghana’s pelagic small fish.
Stakeholders in the industry agreed that among the many challenges confronting the fishing industry, is the incidence of illegal fishing practices such as the use of fine mesh nets, light for fishing , the use of dynamite, carbide (chemical) and pair trawling.
Although the Fisheries Act 625 was enacted in 2002, its poor enforcement has culminated in illicit engagement of fishing methods which are also a contributory factor to the massive depletion of pelagics.
Stakeholders are concerned that the decline in fish production would have serious repercussions on the health of the citizens as fish is a rich source of iron and protein and currently about twenty-five percent of children below the age of five are malnourished.
Secretary to the Canoe Council in the Nzema East Municipality of the Western Region, Michael Nokoe, who has been fishing for the past two decades, expressed concern about the astronomical decline in fish harvest in recent times.
He largely attributed the problem to light fishing which disrupts fish reproductive cycles. He thus called on government to regulate the industry.
The National Activities Manager for S.F.M.P, Kofi Agbogah, said “the future of fishing in Ghana is severely threatened if stringent measures are not instituted to check the depletion of fish stock.
Mr. Agbogah noted that the long-term sustainability of fish is attainable, adding the USAID/S.F.M.P are committed and ready to work with all stakeholders in the industry to close the 360, 000 tons deficit of Ghana’s fish demand.
By: Akwesi Koranteng/citifmonline.com/Ghana