Some players in the fishing industry have called on the government to consider buying vessels to replace the over 14,000 canoes currently fishing in Ghana’s sea as a managing tool for the country’s dwindling fish stock.
The stakeholders made the call at the Ghana News Agency monthly stakeholder engagement aimed at providing the needed platform for both state and non-state actors to deliberate on national issues.
Mr Gilbert Sam, Administrator of the Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association (GITA), said just as the government provided logistics for farmers, it must consider purchasing robust vessels to cater for the large number of canoes.
Mr Sam said, “government can buy about ten vessels to replace the 14,000 canoes and put the artisan fishermen in it to travel deep to sea and fish.”
He said the vessels could be working to enrich the fishermen as done in other countries, adding that there were prospects, which were yet to be explored for its commercial viability.
He said instead of the government helping to save the industry, there was too much reliance on enforcement, saying “Ghana’s fisheries recoveries only emphasize enforcement rather than rebuilding stock and creating employment.”
Mr Richstere Nii Amarh Amarfio, Secretary of the Ghana Tuna Association, and a fisheries advocate, on his part, said there was the need to reduce the number of canoes on the sea to help replenish the stock while creating alternative income for the fishermen.
He said Ghana was among the highest fish consumption countries in Africa and five of the African countries with high consumption in the world hence the need to increase the countries stock with proper management tools.
He said Ghana consumed between 22 to 27 kilogrammes of fish per capita, which was higher than the 11 and 13 kilogrammes per capita average for Africa and the world respectively.
The GTA Secretary noted that about one million metric tonnes of fish was consumed in Ghana per annum, which the country’s fisheries sector was unable to meet, leading to an imbalance between supply and demand, a situation which had led to the importation of fish to fill the gap.
Mr Francis Ameyibor, Ghana News Agency, Tema Regional Manager, said activities at sea were under-reported by the media and the agency had created the platform to offer stakeholders the opportunity to reach out to the world.