President Nana Akufo-Addo has bemoaned dwindling fish stock in the country’s water bodies calling for a halt in all forms of illegal fishing activities.
He said illegal methods of fishing, as well as the over-exploitation of Ghana’s marine resources, cannot continue, as they threaten the very essence of the country’s existence.
According to President Akufo-Addo, over the years, and especially in recent times, nearly all of Ghana’s marine fisheries and some inland fisheries have been over-fished.
This, he said, is buttressed by the last stock survey conducted in April 2016, which shows that sardines, the dominant fish stock, are disappearing from Ghanaian waters.
“Although population growth can be said to be a contributory factor, the ‘twin-evils’ of illegal fishing and the over-exploitation of our marine resources have worsened an already dire situation. This cannot continue to happen, as it threatens the very essence of our existence,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Thursday at the welcoming ceremony of the new Fridtjof Nansen Fisheries Research Vessel to Ghana, held at the Tema Harbour.
Ghana, which consumes over 950,000 metric tons of fish annually, currently imports over 60 percent of its fish.
In 2016, the country imported $135 million worth of fish because of a reduction of fishes in the sea and other water bodies.
It is in light of this that the the Ghana government is receiving the research vessel from Norway to help address the situation.
The Research Vessel is in Ghana to assess the marine stock levels in the country’s waters.
The vessel’s programme has been unique in training scientists and equipping them with the necessary tools to assess stocks of fishes in our waters.
“We may have little or no control over climate fluctuations or changes, but one thing we can have control over is our day-to-day activities. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) methods are depleting our fish stocks. Our beautiful coastal wetlands are threatened by high volumes of plastic and metal waste that choke breeding habitats for fish,” he said.
Inter-ministerial approach to curb illegal fishing
The President added that, “this must not be allowed to continue. To this end, an Inter-Ministerial approach to curb this menace is in the pipeline. Together we can protect endangered species, achieve food security, and protect our ocean for the future.”
To this end, President Akufo-Addo indicated that, his government has put in place a Fisheries Management Plan to help ensure the long term conservation of Ghana’s waters and the fishes.
President Akufo-Addo expressed his appreciation to the Norwegian government and to his co-Chair of the Advocacy Group of Eminent Persons for the SDGs, Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, who was re-elected earlier this week, for the vessel.
“I wish the new Research Vessel, R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen, her captain and crew well, a happy stay in our country, and pray for God’s guidance in this mission, and in all of its endeavours,” the President concluded.
By: citifmonline.com with additional info from the Flagstaff House