USAID Honors Fisherfolk For Actions Toward Improved Food Security

USAID/Ghana Private Sector Team Lead Richard Chen awards Theresa Freeman with the title of “Most Outstanding Fisheries Leadership in Fish Processing” at Feed the Future’s awards ceremony to honor those who work to protect Ghana’s fishing industry. Photo credit: Priscilla Addison, USAID/Ghana

USAID/Ghana Private Sector Team Lead Richard Chen awards Theresa Freeman with the title of “Most Outstanding Fisheries Leadership in Fish Processing” at Feed the Future’s awards ceremony to honor those who work to protect Ghana’s fishing industry. Photo credit: Priscilla Addison, USAID/Ghana


Accra, GHANA—On March 7, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP), in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and Ghana’s Fisheries Commission, hosted an awards ceremony at Nungua beach to honor fishing communities and associations for their exemplary work to protect Ghana’s marine ecosystems and fish stocks. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Honorable Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, and USAID/Ghana Private Sector Team Lead Richard Chen attended and delivered remarks.

A total of18 fishing communities, associations and individuals residing along Ghana’s coastline were rewarded and honored for adopting responsible fishing practices. The awards ceremony aims to recognize women and men who support sustainable post-harvest practices and the preservation of Ghana’s marine ecosystems. SMFP, under Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, works to rebuild fish stocks in Ghana and to curb overfishing.

“USAID is committed to working with the Government of Ghana to encourage the adoption of responsible fishing practices to prevent the depletion of Ghana’s fish stocks,” remarked Mr. Chen. “The purpose of this awards program is to spotlight outstanding leadership and dedication among individuals, communities and associations in the fishing sector, demonstrating good fishing management and practice.”

The awards ceremony, which is being held for the first time this year, will be held annually and will celebrate heroes of change in Ghana’s fisheries sector. The awards target institutions, associations, individuals and communities. Over 60 applications were received from Ghana’s four coastal regions. This event was organized by Feed the Future. In Ghana, Feed the Future works to increase the competitiveness of the fisheries, maize, rice and soy value chains to generate economic growth and market opportunities for vulnerable populations.




Women Oyster Harvesters Ready For Community Co-mamgement Plan

Women demonstrate harvesting oysters during the PRA.  Normally they would have individual basins. Brush parks (ed Acadjas in Ga or Atidza in Ewe)

Women demonstrate harvesting oysters during the PRA. Normally they would have individual basins. Brush parks (ed Acadjas in Ga or Atidza in Ewe)

By Samuel Hinneh

More than 100 fisher folks, mostly women and traditional leaders from Tsokomey, Bortianor, Oshie, Faana, Kobrobite communities in the Ga South Municipal Assembly in the Greater Accra Region have expressed the readiness to adopt community co-management plan to boost oyster harvesting to alleviate poverty.

They participated in a two-day Oyster Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) from January 30th to 31st, 2017 to institute a community co-management plan for the harvesting of oyster resources in the Densu Estuary. The appraisal assessed the ecological and socioeconomic status and prospects for development of a community based management plan for oyster harvesting as a sustainable livelihood and food security venture in the Densu River estuary. The Densu Delta was designated as a Ramsar site in 1992, recognizing it as a protected wetland of international importance under the International Convention on Wetlands.

They shared local knowledge of the history of oyster fishery in the Densu Estuary, identified significant harvesting sites, shared their experiences with using the river resources, and identified the opportunities and challenges in sustainable oyster harvesting and conservation management.

The PRA was facilitated by Development Action Association (DAA), Hen Mpoano, and the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Science of University of Cape Coast (UCC), all implementing partners of USAID Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) and Consultants from Try Oyster Women from the Gambia.

USAID Sustainable Fisheries Management Project is 5-years food security program which aims at rebuilding targeted marine fish stock in Ghana.

The Try Oyster Women’s Association in The Gambia brings together over 500 female oyster harvesters with primary aim to raise the standard of living and improve livelihood opportunities for women.

Harvested fresh oysters from the Densu estuary

Oysters have very high essential vitamins and minerals such as protein, iron, omega three fatty acids, calcium, zinc, and vitamins C. Another important benefit in eating oysters is, it poses no danger to the cholesterol levels in the human body. A research done by University of Washington shows, oysters raise good cholesterol levels and lowers bad cholesterol levels. Madam Fatou Janha Mboob, TRY Oyster Women’s Association Coordinator, reiterated their support for the management plan. “If we are doing it accordingly, we can process it and export some to upgrade income. Comparing the oyster sizes in The Gambia and Ghana the sizes in Ghana are bigger than The Gambia and lots of profits can be made if done properly to increase earnings. The hardship in the communities is too much, we will help to address economic hardships,” she stated.

The women who represent the target group for the DAA/SFMP sustainable livelihoods initiative mostly engage in low value-added activities such as fish cleaning and carrying loads of fish on their heads from the landing site (fish porter). These women mostly young women in their 20s and 30s are at times the poorest in the community. Although oyster harvesting is common among this group, it is not considered a significant source of income. One of the participants summed it up this way “I came to Tsokomey from Volta region specially to carry fish load because I heard that it is a lucrative activity. Here in our community, oyster harvesting is not seen as an occupation.”

Peter Oblitey Amui, secretary to the Sukumortsoshishi family in charge of the River says he was happy of the proposed co-management plan and will solicit support from the traditional heads to ensure that the programme is a success. “Though I had heard many misconceptions about the whole programme, what I have seen clearly shows greater commitment from the women oyster harvesters and we as traditional authority in this area and in charge of the river will give them our full support.”

Women Oyster harvesters face many challenges, among them are: inadequate protective working gear, lack of personal boat for harvesting (this mostly applies to women oyster pickers), inadequate diving skills, inadequate sustainable fire wood for broiling oysters, extended shucking time (scooping of oyster “meat” from shells can be time consuming for a large volume of oysters), low price of fresh oyster “meat”, lack of access to external markets, and lack of value addition of the fresh oysters (processing into other finished products)

Lydia Sasu, the Executive Director, Development Action Association (DAA), says it is the hope that the women would take up oyster harvesting as a business to alleviate poverty and subsequently achieve food security.

She stated that, this appraisal is only the beginning and with the support of the Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) and the USAID, various trainings, oyster value additions in their processes, mangrove planting and many other activities would be embarked on to strengthened the women harvesters for them manage their resources themselves in a more sustainable way.

“Our overall goal is to assist these women and the community at large to use their own resources in a sustainable way and to improve their living and family standards, we are at DAA care about rural women and we want to see them happy,” Mrs Sasu said.



The law must deal with illegal fishers – Fisheries Minister-designate


The laws of Ghana do not allow for light fishing and the security agencies must deal ruthlessly with anyone caught engaging in it, Madam Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, has warned.

The warning comes in the wake of the use of light to attract fish and other illegal means of fishing including the use of dynamites, all negatively affecting the fishing industry in Ghana.

She said the practice had depleted the nation’s fish stock with an attendant rise in the nation’s fish import bill.

Appearing before the Appointment Committee of Parliament on Thursday the Minister designate said the illegal practice was done with aggregating device.

After the fishes have been aggregated some obnoxious chemicals, dynamites are poured on the fish in order to capture all the fishes at once.

“This is poisonous to the consumer,” she said and that the Ministry would resource the Ghana Navy with patrol boats to intensify patrols in Ghanaian waters and check the practice.

She announced a Fisheries Management Plan that is being worked on to deregulate the powers of the Fisheries Commission into the hands of the fisher folks to empower them to be watch-dogs and arrest colleague fishers who are engaged in the practice.

She said the NPP Government’s commitment to building landing beaches at Keta Krowor, James Town and 11 other locations across the country.

On premix fuel, the nominee said she was aware of the difficulties with its distribution and would ensure that the laws in the procurement and distribution of premix fuel were enforced.

“We will employ people who will go round the regions to ensure that when the fuel is procured and designated for a particular region, it gets there,” the Minister Designate said.

She announced that investors who would want to enter into pond culture would go for an environmental safety certificate.

On tidal waves, the Minister Designate said the fisher folks would be educated on what to expect and how to handle their equipment when there was tidal waves.

She complained about pair trawlers who went beyond the stipulated industrial fishing all the way in the 30 metre depth breaching laws and called for the necessary action to be taken against such persons.



Ghana’s annual fish production deficit over 600,000 metric tonnes








Madam Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye, the Minister-designate for Fisheries and Aquaculture, has disclosed that the country has huge fish production deficit with over 600,000 metric tonnes annually.

She said currently the country produced only 440,000 metric tonnes of fish annually instead of one million metric tonnes needed by fish consumers thus falling short by over 50 per cent.

In order to close the gap, she said, the Ministry had developed a Fisheries Management Plan that provided guidance on how the country could meet consumer demand including observing closed fishing seasons and avoiding illegal fishing practices.

Madam Afoley Quaye made this known on Thursday when she appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament for vetting.

She said the Ministry would strengthen inland and marine fishing efforts adding that it had started enforcing closed fishing seasons for industrial fisher folks which was observed in January this year, while the semi-industrial fisher folks had started observing it from February to March 31.

Madam Quaye, the Member of Parliament for Krowor in the Greater Accra Region, said the Ministry would bring the artisanal fishers on board to observe the closed fishing seasons in order to replenish the fish stock.

She said when given the nod, the Ministry would set up an inter-sectoral committee comprising representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Water Resources Commission and the Fisheries Commission under a single umbrella to speed up the process of acquiring aquaculture permits for potential investors.

She said the Ministry intended to increase aquaculture fish production from the current 50,000 metric tonnes to 100,000 metric tonnes within the shortest possible time.

Addressing how the Ministry would ensure that fisher folks got premix fuel regularly, she said the distribution of the product was fraught with challenges including diversion and adulteration.

“Therefore the Ministry would enforce the procurement and distribution of the product and place tracking system on the fuel tankers to avert diversion, and also recruit coordinators who will make sure the products get to their final destinations,’’ she said.

The nominee said the Government would construct 14 landing beaches across the country including Manford, Krowor, Keta and Kpeshie, as well as construct a fishing harbour at James Town in the Greater Accra Region as captured in the New Patriotic Party Manifesto.

She said illegal fishing had depleted the fish stock therefore the Ministry would resource the Navy patrol team to embark on frequent patrols on the sea and enforce the fishing collaborative plan so that fisher folks would be given powers to serve as watchdog over their colleagues and arrest those involved in illegal fishing.

With regard to the menace of tidal waves destroying fishing inputs in some coastal communities, she said fisher folks would be educated on the timing of the tidal waves so that they would understand the period of the waves and take precaution.

Madam Ouaye gave the assurance that the Ministry would deal with any fishing infractions to ensure sanity in the fishing industry adding that the Anomabo Fisheries College would be supported to take off in order to train personnel in fishing extension services.



Fishermen deserve as much attention as farmers – Fisheries Minister-designate


By: Abubakar Ibrahim,

The Minister-designate for Fisheries and Aquaculture has defended the introduction of a Fish Festival in recognition of the contribution of fisher folks.

Elizabeth Afoley Quaye said the annual Farmers Day which celebrates all Ghanaian farmers does not pay enough attention to those in the fishing sector during the awards ceremony.

She told Parliament’s Appointment Committee during her vetting Thursday that the fisherfolks need the same attention and recognition as the farmers.

Ghana is known to be amongst the highest consumers of fish globally..

In 2015 the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development launched the Greater Accra Fish Festival to celebrate the efforts of fishermen and fish processors.

The then Minister Madam Sherry Ayittey who launched the maiden festival which was held in Prampram stated that the fish festival was the government’s way of recognising the role of the fisheries sector to national development.

“Fishing is a very challenging endeavour and therefore the need to celebrate the work of fishers in the same way as other occupations is celebrated in Ghana,” she noted.

She added that the fisheries industry contributes significantly to the national economy, employing directly and along its value chain, an estimated 10 percent of the population.

According to the incoming Fisheries Minister, the Farmers Day in its current form does little in acknowledging the fisherfolks which and that must changed.

Speaking to the issue of the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) campaign promise of building beach landing sites and storage facilities in Cape Coast, Maniford, Teshie, Axim, Keta, Adaa, Jamestown and other areas along the coast, Mrs Quaye said she is studying the contractual agreement and would ensure that they are established.

The Member of parliament for Krowor Constituency said she would also ensure that Jamestown which has been earmarked for a fishing harbour would be done.

On the issue of premix fuel which has become a teething problem in fishing communities when it comes to the procurement and distribution, the Minister-designate said if passed, the problems of diversion and adulteration of the product would be a thing of the past.

She promised to ensure that the laws governing the procurement and distribution of the product are enforced, adding that she would hold a stakeholder consultation and give the fisherfolks some power to be able to police their own interest.

Mrs Quaye is also looking forward to employing people to handle the monitoring, controlling and surveillance of premix fuel environment to prevent some interested parties from hijacking the product.

They would also ensure that when the premix is procured to a particular landing beach, it is delivered to where it is supposed destination.



University of Cape Coast launches FishCoMGhana







An online platform meant to provide scientific and relevant social information to support decision and policy making in the fishing sector has been launched in Accra.

Dubbed FishCoMGhana, the platform seeks to collate, manage and distribute information and all relevant data through the internet to support fisheries and coastal resource management and research in Ghana.

The Centre for Coastal Management (CCM) of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in the Central Region is the lead initiator of the project that is being funded by USAID.

FishCoMGhana is an acronym meaning, Fisheries and Coastal Management in Ghana.

Launching the platform on Thursday, Dr Denis Worlonyo Aheto, Director of the Centre for Coastal Management, UCC said that the website would serve as a one-stop shop for accessing historical data rescued from various sources and also contain social and scientific information.

The scientific information, he said would include; new field observations and experimental results on inland, marine and coastal fisheries as well as other resources in Ghana.

He said the content of the platform provides a mobile interface that allows users to search, download or create reports on archived social and scientific data and information for access by students, scientists, policy makers, government and non-governmental agencies locally and on the international scene.

Explaining the necessity of the platform, Dr Aheto said data on fisheries and marine environment were scattered in the repositories of different national institutions which limited the capacity of the nation to effectively integrate long-term observations on coastal habitats and resources to support the development and sustainable management of fisheries.

He said the situation did not also encourage communication between researchers, users and mangers of coastal resources in the country.

Dr Aheto said the UCC therefore decided to partner other institutions including University of Ghana, University for Development Studies, University of Energy and Natural Resources, University of Rhode Island in the USA and the USAID to establish the online platform to help close the information gap in the fishing sector.

Professor George Oduro, Vice Chancellor of UCC said the depletion of fish stock was a worldwide phenomenon and there was the need to plan scientifically to provide evidence based proof “to conquer this galamsey operation affecting the fishing sector, especially in Ghana”.

Dr Emmanuel Acheampong, Lecturer, Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, UCC said FishCoMGhana was being developed to augment Ghana’s Fisheries Management Plan, which sought to increase or rebuild fish stock to enhance socio-economic conditions of the fishing communities.

He said the platform would  provide a key to access fishing information at no fee to help policy makers, Government and other stakeholders to work together to improve fisheries and coastal resources  to the benefit of the people.

Mr Richard Chen, Private Sector Team Leader, Economic Growth Office of the USAID-Ghana said FishCoM Ghana initiative would strengthen communication and collaboration among actors that were working to ensure that Ghana’s fish stock was replenished.

Mr Paul Bannerman, Deputy Director at the Fisheries Commission who represented the Minister Designate for Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Madam Naa Afoley Quaye, commended the partners for initiating FishCoMGhana that would offer efficient and easy access of information for decision making process and efficient management of fishing industry.

“The need for good and accurate information is extremely essential if planners and beneficiaries of fish and fisheries resources are to derive any benefits from it”, he said.

Mr Bannerman said currently over 20 per cent of Ghanaians workforce were employed in the fishing sector that also provides about GH¢1 billion in revenues each year.

He therefore urged all relevant institutions to make sure that the platform was beneficial and sustained by sending their information and patronising it to aid development of the fishing.



Second phase of $20m fishing harbour to be completed in December








The second phase of the $20 million expansion work at the Albert Bosomtwe-Sam (ABS) Fishing Harbour in Sekondi is expected to be completed by December.

The project, being implemented by Japanese Grant Aid Co-operation, has 40 per cent of the work done including the breakwater of 200 meters, landing berth (50m) preparation/resting berth(115m), canoe jetty (76m), driveway (490m) and ice making plant (15tonne/day).

The fishing harbour is currently outstretched due to the number of inshore vessels using the facility which makes it appropriate for the second half to be completed.

The Japanese Embassy in Ghana and a delegation from the Japanese Government have toured the fishing harbour at Sekondi to have firsthand information on the progress of work.

Mr Hitoshi Takemoto, the Senior General Manager of ECOH Corporation, Consultant for the project, told the media that expansion work would include the construction of break water, berthing space, a drive way to cart and push truck and additional ice plant.
“After the completion of the project, it is expected to have additional 180-meter berth to accommodate more fishing boats, additional 15 tonnes of ice making plant to make it 30 tonnes, a new story building which will serve as offices for statutory body among other things,” he said.

“We are conducting the second phase of the fishing harbour because it has been more than 15 years and the Port of Takoradi has been using it effectively, efficiently as well as managing it” Yuki Takanashi, the First Secretary at the Embassy of Japan, said.

Captain Ebenezer Kojo Afadzi, the Director of the Takoradi Port, explained that the fishing habour had become an important pillar in the industry, adding, the facility would be put to good use as expected.



Japan Doles Out $20m To Expand Bosomtwi Fishing Harbour

By: Bernice Bessey

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has invested $20 million into the expansion of the Sekondi Fishing Harbour to accommodate more fishing vessels and individuals that access the port.

The first phase of the harbor, which was constructed in 1998 as a landing site for 50 vessels, has now registered to over 100 vessels, resulting in congestion.

A research conducted by JICA prior to the commencement of the second phase of the project, established that apart from fishermen, an estimated number of 10,000 people, including fish mongers and other intermediaries, access the port on a daily basis.

Tomonari Takeuchi, the JICA representative, told newsmen in Sekondi-Takoradi last Saturday that overcrowding of the harbour had necessitated the expansion, which is almost 40% complete.

He said the project is being undertaken by TOA Cooperation to construct improved breakwater, canoe berthing facility, additional ice making plant, and additional administration block.

Other incentives alongside the construction include pavement of the area behind the fish handling shed, water tank, fuel tank and technical assistance (software component).

Mr. Takeuchi said since current registered inshore vessels had outnumbered the 50 for which the harbor was constructed, the Phase II expansion will open-up for almost 126 fishing vessels.

He added that phase II is a total improvement of phase I, as the ice making plant will produce extra 15 additional tonnes of ice a day to help fishers preserve their catch.

“As the ice making capacity in the harbor cannot cater for the increase of ice demand in accordance with the increase of ice demand landing volumes, fishermen are obliged to use low quality ice transported from neighbouring areas,” he said.

The phase II of the Sekondi Harbour construction started in 21st April, 2016, and is expected to be completed by December 31, this year.

Mr. Takeuchi commended staff and managers of the harbour for effective maintenance of the facility, adding of all the ice plants installed by JICA in Africa, it is only the one in Ghana that is still efficient after almost two decades.

Captain Eben Kojo Afadzi, Director of  Port-Takoradi, explained that the overcrowding of fishing vessels at the port was a result of no proper landing sites for fishermen along the  coasts of Ghana.

He added that most fishermen prefer to land at the Sekondi Fishing Harbour, because they can have access to certain basic amenities like high quality ice blocks to preserve their catch for days while offshore.



Ban PairTrawling – Fishermen Plead

By: Emmanuel Opoku, Half-Assini

Some fishermen in the six coastal districts of the Western Region have appealed to the Minister-designate for Fisheries, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, to help ensure the total ban of pair-trawling in Ghana’s territorial waters.

According to the fishermen, the pair-trawling, which had depleted Ghana’s marine stocks, persists partly because successive governments did not have the courage to ban the practice.

The fishermen asserted that successive governments only paid lip service to tackling the menace.

They believed strongly that banning of the practice of pair-trawling in the country’s territorial waters would help revamp the fishing industry.

They have, therefore, called on the current government to muster the courage to ban pair-trawling in the country’s waters.

“If that is not done, the marine stocks would be depleted, but we must protect it for future generations,” they indicated.

This came to light when DAILY GUIDE visited the Half-Assini beach yesterday and interacted with some of the fishermen, most of whom had traveled from the various coastal areas in the region to the Jomoro District to ply their trade.

They maintained that the total ban of pair-trawling would save the fishing industry from collapse.

One of the fishermen, John Amissah, indicated that the Fisheries Management Committee established by the previous Kufuor administration to oversee fishing activities in the country should be restored.

He explained that Fisheries Management Committee ensured that issues related to premix fuel and outboard motors were managed directly by fishermen.

Mr Amissah revealed that the distribution of premix fuel, which the government had subsidized for fisher folks, had been fraught with a lot of corrupt practices.

He alleged that “some premix committee members who are authorized to sell the commodity deliberately hoard them and sell to fishermen in other fishing communities, thus leading to temporary shortage of the product in the designated landing beach sites.”

He called on the incoming Minister of Fisheries to ensure that the interference by political party executives and activists in the distribution of premix fuel would be a thing of the past.

“Again, the vessel monitoring system that was introduced by ex-President Kufuor to monitor the activities of vessels within Ghana’s territorial waters, beyond certain metres zone, should also be reintroduced,” he opined.

He appealed to the current government to make use of all the equipment brought in by the late Gladys Asmah, Minister for Fisheries under President Kufuor, for the construction of cold stores, which were allegedly abandoned by the immediate-past Mahama administration.

“We are also calling on the NPP government to make good the promise of constructing mini harbours at Axim in the region and other sites, for which drawings were ready but had gathered dust under the previous government.”




Elizabeth Quaye nominated for Ministry of Fisheries & Aquaculture

By: Lawrence Segbefia,

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has named Elizabeth Afoley Quaye as the Minister nominated for Fisheries and Aquaculture .

Madam Quaye who is the Member of Parliament for Krowor in the Greater Accra region has worked at the Ministry of Agriculture as a civil servant for about two decades.

Announcing the third batch of ministerial nominees at the Flagstaff House, President Akufo-Addo described Madam Quaye as a civil servant who understands issues pertaining to her portfolio.

“She is a first time Member of Parliament, she is going to be a minister, but her background, 20 years in the Ministry of Agriculture. In fact this was her schedule , because her schedule was a civil servant.  But I believe her exposure, her knowledge of the issues in the industry are second to none in our country,” he said

“When you speak to her you will know, and very soon the world will know it in the way she conducts herself in the Ministry. She comes from a fishing community, she is a Member of Parliament for a fishing community and I think she is very very idly positioned to be an advocate for that community for that industry as well as a policy maker to make sure that the decline that we have seen in the income of fisher folks, that decline is arrested,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo charged her to help solve important issues that affect marine and aquaculture development.

“This is an industry that affects about two million people in Ghana and I do not have to underline or overemphasize  its  importance in the economy of our country .There are important matters that now confront all of us .

“The depletion of our marine stocks. Methods of fishing . The apparent decline in artisanal fishing all these are very important issues not only for the community involved in fishing but the nation at large”.

Madam Quaye attended University of Ghana, Legon.