In an attempt to tackle the dwindling national fish stock, government is currently restocking over hundred dams and dugouts across the country.
According to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs. Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye, this will ensure food security and increase the intake of fish in most Ghanaian meals.
Speaking to Citi News at the official launch of the project at Libiga in the Savelugu District of the Northern region on Monday, she said the project will also help reduce by half the 60% importation of fish into the country.
She intimated that, “I must indicate that assisting communities to increase fish production is a key component of government’s agenda of ensuring food and nutrition security, particularly at the community level. It is also to support government’s commitment to achieve optimal use of our water bodies under our programme, one village one dam. Indeed, restocking of dams and dugouts is one of the programmes by the Ministry and its collaborator agencies to support government’s numerous social intervention initiatives to enhance fish production and reduce income poverty levels among in our rural communities.”
She further explained that, “this is the first phase of the programme and it involves 100 dams and dugouts with a total water surface area of about 2860 hectares in 35 districts of the five region; Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East, Upper West and the Northern part of the Volta Region. The dams and dugouts will be stocked with 100 million multi-species and mixed sex fingerlings including tilapias, catfishes and heterotis niloticus.
Touching awareness creation and the sense of responsibility to safeguard the project, Madam Afoley outlined among other things, “engagement opportunities for stakeholders to influence the programme design and implementation positively, identifying key issues of concerns, and to ensure focus on them during the programme period, and the creation of a sense of ownership in the in the minds of stakeholders, as well as managing the expectations and misconceptions regarding the projects.
“I wish to acknowledge the 35 member Libga Fishermen Association and urge them to put in place more measures such as closed seasons periods within which fishing is suspended. These measures should help to reduce excessive fishing pressure, replenish the depleting fish stock, and achieve sustainable fishing,” she stated.
The project is a joint enterprise between the Government and the beneficiary communities. This requires that the communities must be seen to be in charge of its management to help achieve its objectives.
The Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, who launched the programme, also announced that as part of government’s efforts to drive economic activities in the fish value chain, it has acquired a financing of $53 million from the International Development Association of the World Bank, and the Global Environment Facility.
This he says is for the West Africa Regional Fisheries Program in Ghana.
He explained that the programme is intended to resolve challenges in the fishery sector with the aim of adopting strategies that will ensure sustainable increase in the net economic benefits from the country’s fisheries and aquaculture.
“The programme is expected to directly benefit an estimated number of 206,000 Marine and Lake Volta fishers, at least 27,000 women fish processors, and over 3,000 fish farmers,” he anticipated.
According to the Senior Minister, the programme will focus on fixing identified problems in the fishing sector.
“We will adopt strategies to ensure the sustainable increase of the net economic benefits from the nation’s fishing industry.”
The Northern Regional Minister, Salifu Sa-eed, on behalf of the chiefs and people of the region thanked government for kick-starting the programme there.
He said the Regional Coordinating Council and the Savelugu Municipal Assembly will collaborate to effectively monitor and supervise the programme.
By: Abdul Karim Naatogmah/citifmonline.com/Ghana