Rioting fishermen disrupt inauguration of volunteer group

By: Gabriel Ahiabor

Policemen and Navy personnel preventing the demonstrators from causing harm

Policemen and Navy personnel preventing the demonstrators from causing harm

Rioting by a group of fishermen numbering over 500 temporarily disrupted the inauguration of a fisheries watch volunteer group at Otrokpeh, near Big Ada in the Ada East District in the Greater Accra Region last Friday.

The volunteer group was being inaugurated by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD), Mrs Elizabeth Afoley Quaye.

The fisheries watch volunteer group is an initiative by the Fisheries Commission and its stakeholders. The groups are to monitor the beaches to enforce fishing regulations and infractions and assist in the prosecution of fisheries violations.

They are also to patrol both sea and land to ensure that canoes that are being used are duly registered.

At exactly 10 a.m., some fishermen from Ada and its environs started the protest, vowing to prevent the minister from swearing in the 50-member volunteer group selected from the Ada East District and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly.

They destroyed canopies and plastic chairs at the venue for the event and verbally assaulted the minister and her entourage.

It took the police more than an hour to bring the irate youth who had massed up at the scene, amid the chanting of war songs, under control.

Lack of consultation

Mr Enoch Ayittey Tawiah, a former assembly member for Otrokpeh and fisherman, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said the fishermen in the area were not consulted by the ministry before forming the volunteer group.

He said the government should have involved them in the decision-making process before the formation of the group and its subsequent inauguration.

According to him, the fishermen were not against any decision by the government to restore marine resources, adding: “All we needed was to be made part of the management of the fisheries resources.”


The event eventually came off amid tight security.

Inaugurating the volunteers, Mrs Afoley Quaye said part of the objectives of the government’s fisheries management plan was to strengthen participatory decision making in the sector.

She said an arrangement known as ‘co-management’ enabled the responsibility of managing the resources to be shared between user groups and the government, adding: “It will also create opportunity for both the community and the government to be involved in the decision-making, implementation and enforcement processes.”

According to her, the low level of decline in fish production was as a result of the rampant use of unauthorised fishing gear such as monofilament nets and light fishing and the use of poisonous substances and explosives in fishing.


The minister advised the volunteers to be firm in carrying out their mandate and also operate within the laws of the country to bring sanity into the fishing industry.

She assured them of the backing of the ministry, the Ghana Navy, the Marine Police and the Judiciary in their operations.

About 10 per cent of Ghana’s population depends directly or indirectly on the fisheries sector for their livelihood.

The sector contributes 1.2 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. However, the fish stock is declining as a result of over-capacity, over-fishing and illegal fishing.


Source: Graphic online

Video: 137 Fishermen Arrested In Accra

A total of 137 fishermen have been arrested at Prampram in the Ningo-Prampram District in the Greater Accra Region for engaging in illegal fishing activities.

The suspects, including women and children were arrested by a local watchdog committee set up by the Prampram fisherfolks to prevent illegal fishing activities in the area.

However, some of the suspects were subjected to severe beatings by the Prampram fisherfolks for invading their area with their illegal fishing methods.


Confirming the incident to Graphic Online, the Prampram District Police Commander, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Issah Mohammed Cantonam, said the suspects were arrested between May 1 and May 7, this year.

He said the first batch of the illegal fishermen, involving 97 people, including women and children were arrested on Monday, May 1, 2017 while the second batch, comprising 40 people were arrested on Saturday, May 7, this year.

He said items retrieved from the suspects included 17 canoes, power generators, electrical cables and lights, and other illegal fishing tools.

He told Graphic Online that most of the fishermen come from Ada and Tema Newtown in the Greater Accra Region.


Explaining why some of the suspected illegal fishermen were manhandled, DSP Cantonam said when the members of the local “sea watchdog committee” confronted them, the illegal fishermen attempted to pour petrol on them thus leading to a scuffle between the locals and the illegal fishermen.

He said due to the activities of illegal fishermen, most coastal areas have set up “sea watchdog committees” as part of measures to halt the illegal activities.

He said the police have seized all the illegal fishing tools from the suspects, including their canoes.

DSP Cantonam, however, said the suspects have been granted bail but would be processed for court soon, adding that the police would also investigate the matter to deal with those who vented their anger on the suspects.

 Source: Peace Fm

EU partners with Ghana to improve fisheries sector

By: By Lydia Asamoah

GNA Accra, April 7, GNA – A European Union funded project dubbed, ‘Ensure Greater Environmental Sustainability and Social Equity in Ghana’s Fishery Sector, has been launched to help promote food security and improved livelihoods in the sector.

The project would also help in reducing illegal fishing activities and promote participatory co-management of fisheries.

The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), a UK based non-profit organization working to protect the environment and defend human rights is partnering Hen Mpoano, a non-profit organization based in Ghana to implement the three-year project.

Ghana’s fisheries sector is a significant contributor to the economy and is the main source of income for millions of people.

About 70 per cent of Ghana’s fish catch comes from the small-scale artisanal sector, but overfishing, illegal fishing and poor management are threatening the long-term sustainability- hitting these small-scale fisheries the hardest.

The project seeks to empower small-scale fishers to secure their tenure rights, implement a co-management approach to fisheries, combat illegal fishing and promote alternative livelihoods as a means to reduce dependence on the fishing sector.

Mr Kofi Agbogah, Director of Hen Mpoano, said the project would be implemented in 10 districts within the Central Region and the Volta Estuary where, fisher folks would be engaged in ways of improving good fishing practices while supporting efforts towards the eradication of poverty and hunger within these communities.

‘It is important that we empower these communities and ensure that their voice is heard as artisanal fishers have a vital role to play if we want to retain the sustainability in the fishing sector. We need to secure these communities’ tenure rights, and ring fence their traditional fishing activities against external aggression such as urbanization or other economic activities’

Mr Agbogah said the Fisheries Commission would as usual give the necessary support as stakeholders get ready to prepare the action plan that would guide the implementation process.

Mr Antoine Rougier, Country Coordinator of EJF, commended Ghana for its efforts in tackling the unsustainable and illegal fishing practices that has far too long plagued the sector.

He said statistics shows that West Africa has the highest rate of illegal fishing practices in the world and that Ghana was also losing so much money to illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing and this contravenes international law on fishing.

Mr William Hanna, EU Ambassador, said a total of 1.9 million Euros is being given as a grant to support the project.

He said a few years ago, ERU was worried about how fishing was being done in Ghana and so it issued a warning for the country to regulate its fishing activities before it could export fish to some European countries.

‘The good news is that Ghana has worked so hard and today the EU is here to help ensure the sustainability of the fishing sector’, Mr Hanna said.

Mrs Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, in a speech read on behalf, commended all the stakeholders in the effort that would ensure improved management of the fishing sector.

She said co-management in fisheries would enable responsibility of the resource to be shared between user groups and the government, and opportunities would be created for both the community and government to be involved in decision-making, implementation and enforcement processes.

She said government was working with other partners to engage fisher communities to participate in the co-management of the fisheries resources.

‘Under this, volunteers in pilot communities-cluster within the Greater Accra Region are being trained and equipped to undertake education and sensitization of their community members on the fisheries laws, report and assist in the prosecution of fisheries infractions, conduct lake and land patrols and also to undertake registration of canoes.

‘Other co-management arrangements to institute rights-based approaches in fisheries resource management are being piloted under the West Africa Regional Fisheries programme in some communities in the marine and inland areas’.

Mrs Quaye thanked the EU for assisting Ghana in achieving sustainable fisheries management through the implementation of the EU regulation on IUU while assisting the country to strengthen its capacity in fisheries governance and effective monitoring, control and surveillance.

She said the assistance has also enable Ghana to develop the National Plan of Action to combat IUU, the National Marine Fisheries Management Plan and the amended sections of Fisheries Act 625 and Fisheries Amendment Regulations L.I 1968 to incorporate deterrent penalties for IUU offences.



Government urged to implement campaign promises on oil and gas and fisheries sector

By Justina Paaga, GNA
Sekondi-Adiembra (WR), April 7, GNA – A Research Officer at the Centre for Democratic Governance (CDD) Ghana, Mr Mohammed Awal, has called on the government to create a registry and publish all oil and gas licences and contracts awarded in the country.

This, he noted, would help improve transparency, accountability and efficient management of the country’s oil and gas resources for the benefit of all Ghanaians.

Mr Awal, who made the call during a day’s workshop on ‘Post-Election Accountability monitoring Matrix on Election 2016 Oil and Gas Campaign promises’ held for Stakeholders in the Western Region, also called for a competitive and open bidding for oil and gas licences and contracts.

The Workshop organized by CDD in partnership with Friends of the Nation (FON) was supported by Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth (GOGIG), UKaid and OXFAM.

It was to among others discuss the draft post-election accountability matrix for monitoring the fulfilment of the 2016 campaign promises by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) on Oil and Gas and fisheries sector.

It was also to sensitize stakeholders on the need to engage political party leaders, Members of Parliament and assembly-members on the government’s campaign promises on oil and gas, in a bid to assess the performance of the government in the next four years.

Mr Awal said it was also important for the government to develop and pass a robust legislation to clearly define the exercise of any residual discretionary power in the oil and gas legal framework as well as integrate into national and sector policy the principle of the African mining vision.

He said instituting public inquiry and investigation to review evidence into any alleged corrupt practices in the oil and gas sector was also paramount and that supporting an informed public dialogue about oil and gas wealth could contribute to national development and stability.

He said to avoid a repeat of the current menace in the gold mining sector, it was imperative for the government to publish requirements for companies bidding for concessions or licences to fully and publicly disclose their beneficial ownership structure, with strong penalties for non-compliance.

On the fiscal and revenue management regime, Mr Awal suggested that the government should develop a fiscal responsibility and public financial management bill and pass it into law and also to develop and enforce a public investment plan and public guide on value for money audit of publicly funded projects.

Touching on the priority areas for spending and investing revenue from oil and gas, he stressed the need for funding commitment to the completion of the Accra -Paga rail line connection and the western and eastern rail line.

On local participation, Mr Awal called for the publication of the details of the ‘accelerated oil capacity development programme’ policy framework and also to provide incentives that would favour foreign investors to build links with domestic suppliers, to undertake local processing and support skills development.

Mr Solomon Kusi Ampofo, Project Officer of Friend of the Nation (FON), who spoke on the fisheries sector, expressed concern about Ghana losing its fishing resources to the emergence of the oil and gas industry, and called on the government to ensure that all laws and regulations on the fisheries sector were duly implemented.

He also suggested that all stakeholders especially fisher folks be involved in the negotiations and signing of concessional contracts by oil companies. This, he noted would help reduce the unnecessary conflicts between oil companies and fishermen.

Mr Ampofo further called on the government to ensure that all the budgetary allocations to the fisheries sector were implemented to enhance the development and growth of the sector.

Some of the participants the GNA spoke to expressed concern about the current situation where the government and oil companies did not involve fisher folks in the negotiation and signing of contracts, and stressed that as a matter of urgency the situation should be addressed since they have a stake in the oil and gas industry.



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.