The Canoe and Fishing Gear Owners Association of Ghana (CaFGOAG) has called for improved fisheries interventions which they said were crucial to restoring ecosystems to a healthy and productive state.
In a statement issued to commemorate this year’s World Day Against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing yesterday, the association said such interventions should aim at reversing the decline in fisheries and improving fish production in the shortest time feasible.
"Taking decisive action against IUU fishing, overfishing and destructive fishing practices is essential to achieving Goal 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," it said.
The statement, which was signed by its President, Nana Kweigyah, noted that an increase in global consumption of aquatic foods in the face of continuous decline in fisheries raised concerns.
The UN General Assembly declared June 5 every year to celebrate fishers and help address issues affecting the growth of the sector.
The statement further said that while the 2022-2026 marine fisheries management plan (MFMP) was a good attempt by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) and the Fisheries Commission (FC) to rebuild the declined marine fish stock, it required the efforts of all stakeholders to ensure its successful implementation.
"With the passage of the co-management policy in 2020 and subsequent implementation and formation of small pelagics co-management committees in 2023 by the FC and partners, decision-making and fishers' participation in fisheries governance and management is expected to improve.
"It must be said strongly that access to scientific data is equally imperative in the effective participation of fishers in the co-management structures, else the processes of implementation will continue to be top-down approach where the government will push decisions over the co-management structures, as fishers become handicapped in the face of limited access to information to make informed decisions,” it added.
The statement also expressed the association's concerns about the limited access to fisheries scientific information and recommended that fishers be actively involved in data collection and analysis to improve confidence in the scientific data that form the basis for the various management interventions that were implemented.
It called for the sharing of fisheries scientific information, including reports on biological assessment, closed season assessment, canoe frame survey and other such reports with fishers to enhance their ability to effectively participate in fisheries dialogue.
The statement further urged the scientific and technical committee to publish its findings and recommendations made to the FC to improve transparency and accountability and also reconstitute the fisheries management and operational committee (FMOC) to include representatives of all identifiable fisheries associations to enhance the participation of fishers in the decision-making process.
It entreated fishers to comply with the fisheries laws and regulations and to support efforts at addressing the widespread illegalities in artisanal fisheries.