Business News of 2013-12-03

EU warns Ghana over illegal fishing

The European Union (EU) has warned Ghana to tackle illegal fishing in its waters or risk being blacklisted. Nayon Bilijo, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, who made this known, said steps were being taken to avert the EU sanction.

The EU announced that it had banned exports from Belize, Guinea and Cambodia. But Ghana could also be blacklisted if measures are not put in place to deal with ongoing illegal fishing activities. The European Union (EU) has described Ghana as one of the countries with the most illegal fishing industries.

If the sanction is imposed by the EU, Ghana’s export of tuna to the EU would be blocked. Mr. Bilijo said his ministry was pursuing a policy to enhance collaboration within the sub-region to stop illegal fishing in Ghanaian waters following an EU Commission’s resolution that placed Ghana on a list of countries set for sanctions.

“What Ghana has to do now is to liaise with our neighbours to ensure that it is easy for a Ghanaian vessel to acquire fishing licence to fish in Liberia, Ivory Coast and so on,” he said. Mr. Bilijo said Ghana would do everything possible to address the problem to avoid the sanction.

However, before the EU issued this warning, there were concerns about the decline of country’s fishing industry. Myrock Food Processing Company, a free zones company that exports canned tuna to the EU, for example, reported that it lost more than $5 million due to a ban on its exports to the European market.

The company said it sacked over 800 employees due to the ban, which reduced its daily production from 100 to 60 tonnes per day. Ghana is the third highest tuna exporting country to the EU.

In 2012, canned tuna was third on the list of the leading 10 non-traditional exports from Ghana, according to the Ghana Exports Promotion Authority. Tuna exports generated close to $147 million in revenue in the same year and a little over $220 million in 2011.