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Sustainable fishing Fair regulation needed to protect Ghana's food security

Friends of the Nation and national fisheries bodies are appealing to the government as well as fishermen to do more to protect the industry, which employs 10 per cent of the population.

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play More needs to be done to ensure Ghana's fishing industry has a future, civil and trade bodies say (Stacey Knott)

Fishermen need to comply with regulations and avoid politicians' promises this year to ensure the future of their livelihoods, an environmental group has urged.

Friends of the Nation programmes manager Kyei Kwadwo Yamoah was joined by national fisheries bodies to appeal to the government as well as fishermen to do more to protect the industry.

With 10 per cent of the population of Ghana working in fisheries, ensuring sustainability will  increase food security, Yamoah said.

Ghana had seen a “rapid decline” in fishing stock due to illegal fishing, he said

“The sector is currently faced with the challenge of declining marine fisheries resources as a result of weak governance that has tolerated wasteful over-capacity, conflicts and widespread illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.”

He said there needed to be stronger enforcement of fisheries laws, and fishermen needed to comply with them.

“The widespread use of unsustainable and harmful fishing methods is contributing to over fishing and degradation of critical coastal fisheries habitats.”

Along with the Ghana National Canoe Fisherman's Council, the National Fish Processing and Traders Association and BUSAC (Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund, Friends of the Nation called for voluntary compliance, where fishermen need to be made aware of the rules and regulations and the importance of protecting the fishing industry through them.

The group wanted to see better enforcement and deterrence for those who broke the laws.

They wanted to see fishermen empowered and supported with some ability to arrest offenders and to help with investigations and prosecutions.

This was especially important in an election year, where the Government might relax on rules.

He appealed to fishermen “not to allow themselves to be politicized, to dwell on fake promises, or to mount pressure on politicians to intervene on their behalf [when they know they are wrong]”.

Fines should be high enough to deter offenders from repeating, and people needed to be prosecuted fairly and evenly, with continuous enforcement.

“One of the challenges has got to do with the conduct, sometimes government enforcement at certain times relaxes, especially during electioneering periods. "

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