The fisheries sector is said to be losing its youthful workforce as most young people continue to shun fishing for other more lucrative ventures, a situation that puts the future of the sector in jeopardy.
Many young people are said to be abandoning the sector because they see it as full of unending challenges and not “lucrative” at all, a new study commissioned by the Centre for Coastal Management-University of Cape Coast (CCM-UCC), has revealed.
The Study on Marine and Fisheries Governance was discussed in Accra at a stakeholder validation workshop attended by selected fisher folks including fishmongers, processors in Volta and Greater Accra Regions, representatives of NGOs, and the media.
It was undertaken as part of a five-year USAID/UCC Fisheries and Coastal Management Capacity Building Support Project that spanned 2014 to 2019.
A lead Consultant of the Study, Professor Francis Nunoo of the Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences, University of Ghana, said the youth abandoning the sector was giving way to losing the skills and experience needed to be passed on from the older generation to the younger ones.
“The implication is that there is not much future for the fisheries, given that quite a number of young people do not want to go into the fisheries sector,” he said.
“The old fishermen have a lot of skills that they must pass on. Because going out there in the sea, and the fishermen are able to detect where the fish is, and are able to find their way back home, is a good skill to have.”
“Our young men are not going for it because they want quick money, while fishing demand some patience.”
Prof Nunoo, who is also the immediate past Chief Director of the Ministries of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, advised scientific and technical training for people in the fisheries sector.
“And that’s why the idea of the Anomabo Fishing College is welcoming, and that need to come out very fast to ensure proper skills training …,” she said.
“The Fishing College thing is late in coming and we must get it established quickly to train the needed skills for the future.”
He said the Free Senior High School programme was a good foundation to afford the youth a better grounding of secondary education in all fields, including the fishing sector.
Another revelation was that the district assemblies along the coast where fishing was a major activity were found not to be doing much.
The assemblies “just go there and collect taxes and levies from the people but are doing little or nothing in improving their living conditions.”
He explained that the law empowered the assemblies to support in regulating, registering and licensing the operations of fishers.
Meanwhile, the study also revealed the low educational backgrounds of fishers, poor sanitation, poor road network in some fishing communities, the lack of credit facilities for fishers, poor quality of fish due to negative fishing practices, and the issue of low catches among other things.
The study recommended co-management as the way to go in ensuring proper management of the fishing sector, while the traditional authorities and chiefs need to be empowered to play active roles in its management.