Business News of 2013-12-11

Ghana’s marine resources over-exploited - Minister

Ghana’s marine resources are over-exploited due to open access and weak controls, resulting in excessive over capitalisation and over-fishing in the nation’s maritime and inland capture fisheries.

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD), Mr Nayon Bilijo, made this known when he took his turn at the meet-the-press series in Accra yesterday.

He said the nation’s fish supply was in deficit relative to the national requirement as, in 2012, the total fish production was 482,000 metric tonnes, while the fish requirement was 968,000 metric tonnes, showing a deficit of about 50.2 per cent.

He indicated that in spite of the 50.2 per cent shortfall in the country’s domestic fish requirement, post-harvest loss in the sector was estimated in the region of 37 per cent, adding that during the period the private sector had to import fish valued at $157 million to augment fish supply.

Policy objectives

Mr Bilijo said it was estimated that about 2.4 million people in Ghana were dependent on the sector for their livelihoods and said to help address that challenge, the ministry had developed programmes and measures driven by policy objectives to address the situation.

“To achieve the policy objectives, the ministry has planned setting up structures of the MoFAD and the Fisheries Commission, initiating processes for the establishment of the fishermen life insurance scheme,constructing the first phase of the Fisheries College at Anomabo, among others,” he said.

Achievements

He noted that for the effective implementation of its mandate, the ministry had, since its establishment, focused on building the requisite institutional and human resource capacities and was working in collaboration with the Public Services Commission and the Management Services Division of the Civil Service to strengthen the Fisheries Commission to enable it to operate effectively.

It had also engaged and collaborated with the European Union (EU) and produced a road map for improving processes for industrial fisheries operations in the short and medium term.

Challenges

The minister asserted that the sector was besieged with challenges, including over fishing, excess catching capacity, depletion of some marine stocks, human induced changes in ecosystems, post-harvest losses, among others.

He noted that in order to overcome the challenges and derive maximum economic benefit from the fisheries sector, the government in January, 2013 established the ministry to turn around its fortunes in the medium and long term.

Way Forward

Mr Bilijo said the ministry, through the West African Regional Fisheries Programme, would be developing governance structures and processes, such as the creation of a computerised and modern registry for artisanal fleet in both inland and marine fisheries, as well as the establishment of modern registration and licensing management systems, for all fishing vessels.

He stressed that the ministry was determined to explore innovative ways of funding and improving its activities and services to ensure that the sector contributed its quota to national food security and socio-economic development in general.