Business News of 2014-01-10

Ghana imports 50 per cent of fish needs

The declining stocks of fish has made Ghana a net importer of 50 per cent of the fish needed to feed its people.

The decline is attributed to many factors, including poor governance, the open access nature of Ghana's fisheries, illegal fishing, limitation to data gathering systems and analysis for management planning.

This was announced by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mr Nayon Bilijo, during the presentation of documents on the Integrated Coastal and Fisheries Governance Initiative, also called the ‘Hen Mpoano’, at the British Council in Accra on Tuesday.

The documents were received by Mr Paul Victor Obeng, Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and Special Advisor to the President; Mr James Bever, the Director of USAID, Ghana, and representatives of the Ministry of Fisheries and some government agencies and organisations.

Hen Mpoano Project

The Hen Mpoano Project, funded by the USAID, is being implemented in the Western Region.

Mr Bilijo indicated that the indiscriminate use of light in fishing and the usage of highly destructive carbide and other chemicals and explosives had also massively increased the pressure on the fish stock in the Ghanaian waters.

"The case for reforming the management of Ghana's coastal fisheries is clear; increased fishing effort is yielding no better catches and the sector is losing its potential to provide the economic and food security benefits to coastal communities and the nation as a whole," Mr Bilijo said.

Mr Bilijo further said the Hen Mpoano initiative had provided his sector ministry with analytical, ample and synthesised information on the fisheries sector; training of the staff and other fisheries stakeholders, as well as other numerous resources and support to sustain current efforts towards the revival of Ghana's fisheries.

The Special Advisor to the President, Mr Obeng, commended the Hen Mpoano project and said it should be embraced by all sectors of national development.

The head of the project, Mr Kofi Agbogah, said the project engaged 89 target communities along the West Coast and worked with the Fisheries Commission and other stakeholders to re-examine issues and challenges within the fisheries sector, particularly in the Western Region, and this provided the impetus to tackle some of the challenges.