The Canoe and Fishing Gear Owners Association of Ghana (CaFGOAG) says the proposed replacement process for existing canoes is cumbersome and this will affect artisanal fisherfolk if not revised.
The group explained that the existing system will make canoe owners unable to return to business when government’s three-year moratorium which forms part of the 2022-2026 Marine Fisheries Management Plan (MFMP) is enforced.
The 2022-2026 MFMP seeks to address management and conservation limitations that confronted the 2015-2019 MFMP.
During the Fisheries Commission’s engagement in the Western Region, Greater Accra Region and Volta Region, the President of CaFGOAG, Nana Kweigyah called for a broader consultation “to allow for participation of other fisher associations particularly canoe owners who have inputs to make into decisions regarding the moratorium and the replacement arrangement.”
“The deadline for the embossment of canoes is extended to allow our members to go through the embossment process. MoFAD/FC takes steps to establish flexible new canoe entrants’ process and publicize same to get the supports of fishers to end the current open access in the sector,” he added.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF 3-YEAR MORATORIUM ON NEW ENTRANTS OF CANOES
The state of Ghana’s artisanal fisheries has been of concern to all fisheries stakeholders including the Canoe and Fishing Gear Owners Association of Ghana (CaFGOAG). In response, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) and the Fisheries Commission (FC) have lined up a number of management measures, as stated in the 2022-2026 Marine Fisheries Management Plan to address the issues in the sector.
One of such measures is the planned 3-year Moratorium on new entrants of canoes, which CaFGOAG as an association of canoe and gear owners in Ghana wants to contribute to.
During the recent regional level engagements organized by the FC and partners, CaFGOAG was privileged to be part of the engagements in the Western Region, Greater Accra Region and Volta Region, but not Central Region.
The National Council of CaFGOAG at a meeting on the 10th March, 2023 received reports from the regions, and welcomed the decision of the Fisheries Commission to extend the engagements to the landing beaches. The National Council considered the issues presented, and upon deliberations has the following recommendations:
1. That to enable fishers appreciate the basis for this moratorium, it is important the FC urgently makes it available; the current biological assessment report, the 2022 Canoe Frame Survey report, and any other relevant reports to fishers. This will help fishers appreciate the valid grounds for the moratorium, and without which the implementation of the moratorium may be considered as impositions and may suffer compliance by artisanal fishers.
2. That some artisanal fishers foresee serious implementation challenges due to the number and nature of landing beaches in Ghana, and the FC’s inability to emboss all canoes as at now, signaling that fishers may be made to go through difficult situations as the challenges come up. We recommend that FC provides clarity on the implementation plan and allows fishers to make inputs into it before proceeding with implementation.
3. That canoe owners find the proposed replacement process for existing canoes too cumbersome and very likely to make many canoe owners unable to return to business when it becomes necessary to replace their canoes during the period of the implementation.
We recommend that the national level engagement by MoFAD/FC is broadened to allow for participation of other fisher associations particularly canoe owners who have inputs to make into decisions regarding the moratorium and the replacement arrangement.
We further recommend:
4. That the deadline for the embossment of canoes is extended to allow our members to go through the embossment process.
5. That MoFAD/FC takes steps to establish flexible new canoe entrants’ process and publicize same to get the supports of fishers to end the current open access in the sector.
To contribute to the process the NEC of CaFGOAG will further direct that:
1. All CaFGOAG members and by extension canoe owners as a matter of urgency get all canoes embossed.
2. Regional Executives of CaFGOAG urgently reach out to respective FC Directors and facilitate the embossment process as speedily as possible.
3. Executives and members take note that the NEC will not ask for any further extension of time if any canoe owner fails to emboss his/her canoe within the extended period, if granted.
It is the expectation of CaFGOAG and its associate members that MoFAD/FC will consider these proposals and recommendations.
CaFGOAG! SUSTAINING FISHERIES FOR THE FUTURE!!