July 20, 2024
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Fisheries Ministry Revokes Licenses Of 14 Fishing Vessels

The Fisheries Ministry has revoked the licenses of 14 vessels from operating in Ghana waters.

Deputy Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister, Moses Anim noted the 14 vessels have breached the country’s fishing laws. According to the ministry, the decision to revoke the licenses of the 14 vessels is the best practice for the country.

“We are saying that they should have taken authorization before leaving so the Fisheries Commission is engaging, and we are saying they should put up their transcoding so that we can know where they are so long as they are in Ghana’s waters so that we know their activities. Also, we have to label them as IEU vessels and use their IMO number which they cannot change as we label them as IEU vessels”.

Ghana’s fishing industry employs over 2.7 million people. In 2021, over US$ 150 million was generated from fish exports which is a 75% increase from the year 2020.

However, according to the Environmental Justice Foundation, Ghana loses about US$ 100 million annually to illegal, unregulated, and underreported fishing activities.

The use of unapproved fishing gears, light fishing, dumping fish into the sea, fishing with explosives such as dynamite, and transhipment at sea, popularly called “Saiko” are among the bad fishing practices crippling the fishing industry.

European Union, Ghana’s leading export destination, had on several occasions issued various warnings to Ghana on Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU).

In 2013, Ghana received its first yellow card from the EU but was subsequently lifted after two years when the government passed new legislation and a clear fisheries management plan, the Marine Fisheries Management Plan [2015 to 2019].

However, that was short-lived with the EU arguing that although Ghana developed well-constructed policies on illegal fishing in 2015, it has not been implemented or enforced, allowing the situation to deteriorate. This led to a second yellow card by the EU in 2021.

A new Marine Fisheries Management Plan [2022 – 2026] has been developed to help Ghana escape from the yellow card sanction.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has currently placed a 3-year embargo on entrants of new canoes in the system.

The moratorium, which means no new canoes will be allowed in the fishing sector within the period, began on Sunday, October 1, 2023.

The ministry’s 2022 canoe census recorded over 4,000 more canoes than the recommended 9,000 to 9,800 for sustainable fishing in Ghana.

Announcing the decision, the sector minister, Mavis Hawa Koomson, said this was part of efforts to protect the country’s diminishing pelagic fish stock.

Ghana’s pelagic fish stock, including anchovies and herrings, has plummeted dramatically over the last couple of decades and risks total collapse due to unrestrained bad fishing practices such as overfishing and using unapproved nets.

“I wish to formally announce the moratorium on the new artisanal canoe entrance, which takes effect from October 1, 2023, for three years. This means that no canoes will be constructed and brought into the system for the next three years.

“With this measure, it is expected that the pressure on the fisheries resources, in addition to the other measures the government is implementing, will all contribute to a reduction of the pressure on our fisheries resources,” she stated.

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