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New fisheries law needed as Ghana risks EU seafood ban

Sat, 24 Jul 2021 Source: business24.com.gh

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mavis Hawa Koomson, has said her ministry has sought Cabinet approval for a new fisheries law to be enacted to help the country meet all its international fisheries obligations.

This development follows a formal yellow warning (yellow card) from the European Union (EU) to Ghana that could lead to the eventual banning of seafood exports from the country.

The EU issued the warning on June 2 after identifying Ghana as a non-compliant country in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Appearing before Parliament on Thursday to answer a question concerning the warning from the EU, the Fisheries Minister said Ghana expects to address the EU’s concerns over a period of 24 months, as the needed actions range from short- to medium- and long-term measures.

“We have set up a dialogue mission with the EU to address the issues. The first meeting between the two parties is scheduled for 23rd July, 2021. We are seeking Cabinet approval for a new fisheries act to be enacted to meet all international obligations,” she said.

She added that a Draft Marine Fisheries Management Plan is expected to be validated at a workshop on July 27, after which the plan will be submitted to Cabinet for approval and then gazetted for implementation. A new National Plan of Action (NPOA) on IUU Fishing (2021-2025), which is being implemented by the Fisheries Commission, was deposited with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations on May 5, she further stated.

She also explained that the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and the Automatic Identification System (AIS) have been rectified and are now operational, and vessel activities are being monitored for compliance.

On other measures, she said the Fisheries Commission’s Catch Certification Unit receives constant training from the EU in a bid to comply with the EU catch certification processes.

The Ministry, she added, is now collaborating with Ghana Navy and the Marine Police— the security agencies involved in the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU)—to monitor and arrest fisheries offenders for prosecution.

Source: business24.com.gh