The Canoe and Fishing Gear Owners Association of Ghana is appealing to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) and the Fisheries Commission (FC) to abandon the idea of increasing industrial trawl fleet, and urgently stop the destructive activities of industrial fishing vessels in Ghana’s inshore exclusive zone.

They say should the trawl fleet be increased, the woes of fishermen in Ghana would be deepened, and in addition to that, contribute heavily to the declining marine resources in the country.

Addressing the media on the occasion of World Fisheries Day, Chairman of the Association, Nana Kweigyah lamented that the harvesting of juvenile and small pelagic fishes; and dumping of fish still remain huge barriers to behavioral changes required of artisanal fishers.

According to him, Small Scale Fisheries even in their current turmoil, provides food and livelihoods for millions of people globally and in Ghana, it remains the major source of livelihoods in fishing communities, providing food, proteins, and other essential nutritional requirements for the Ghanaian population.

“Small Scale Fisheries remains not just an economic activity for the fishers, but the way of life in fishing communities along the coastal belt of Ghana. To lose small-scale fisheries is to lose the identity of artisanal fishers and fish processors,” he stated.

He indicated it was important for artisanal fishers not to only lament about the sorry state of fisheries, but beyond the lamentations, lead in addressing the ills in the sector to protect small scale fisheries for global food security and poverty eradication.

He made the call, “As we mark this year’s World Fisheries Day and prepare for IYAFA 2022, all fisheries stakeholders should stand up for small-scale fisheries, and help restore the health of the ocean.”

Nana Kweigya believes, once the various actors in the fishing space put a stop to the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing practices, artisanal fishers could fare well in the industry.

He assured that association will continue to make legitimate demands for adequate economic support for fishers and fish processers in order not to unjustifiably worsen living standards in fishing communities, in our advocacy towards ending IUU in artisanal fisheries.

He stated: “We also call on artisanal fishers to be ready for change, as we begin series of engagements aimed at lasting behavioral changes among fishers, as the surest way to end IUU in artisanal fisheries.”

He ended by appealing to Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Civil Society Organizations/Non-Governmental Organization, and Development Partners to consider some economic support such as paid community services for targeted small scale fishers and fish processers to avoid the likelihood of relapse, as they work towards lasting behavioural changes.

He says with such support, they can be assured of the fullest cooperation of artisanal fishers in the implementation of the 2022-2026 Marine Fisheries Management Plan, and the National Plan of Action to combat IUU fishing

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