For some years now, the country has been importing 460,000 tonnes of fish annually, which is more than what it produces.

The country’s total fish requirement is estimated at 880,000 tonnes while annual national fish production averages 420,000 tonnes, which implies that the country is not self-sufficient in fish production.

With prospects for higher landings from capture fisheries being limited, the situation of net deficit is expected to get worse with time.

This has prompted calls by experts on government to take steps to modernise the fishing sector in a manner that will lead to an increase in its present state, where it accounts for 4.5 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product.

In a recent interview, Mr. Ishac Diwan, Country Director of the World Bank, added his voice to the calls for modernising of the fishing sector – stressing that the sector needs more focus.

He suggested that government must begin to issue tradable fishing licences to the over 600,000 small-scale local fishermen in the country in order to ensure the fish stock is protected and preserved.

“Ghana is overfished, as there is so much fishing activities taking place to the extent that it is bad for everyone.”

He said the big fishing trawlers are the worst culprits when it comes to proper cultivation of the fishes, adding “the big trawlers catch all kinds of small fish indiscriminately.”

The Country Director noted that unlike the big trawlers, the small scale fishermen are more efficient in the course of the duties such that they cultivate the fish. “These fishermen are so efficient that they go in for the niche products which are the larger size catches.”

Mr. Diwan said government must aim at modernising the sector by providing the small fishermen with modern boats, cold storage facilities, proper packaging, and marketing so that the entire value chain is properly aligned.

The Ghana Statistical Service estimates that about two million people are dependant on the fisheries sector for their livelihood.

Fish provide the Ghanaian consumers with about 60 percent of their animal protein needs.

The national per capita fish consumption is estimated at 23kg, much higher than the global average o£ 13kg per capita.

Source: B&FT

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