The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture is working on an award scheme to reward traditional leaders, communities, Municipal District Assemblies and Media networks who promote effective fishing practices or educate the public on fisheries.
“We will be rolling out awards to cover categories such as Most Proactive Chief Fishermen, Most Proactive Traditional Leader., Most Responsive Media projecting fisheries issues as well as Most responsive Municipal/District Assemblies very soon,” sector Minister Elizabeth Afoley Quaye said.
She made the revelation during a grand durbar of the Kundum Festival at Lower Dixcove in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region.
The Minister stressed the role of traditional leaders in fisheries management, and called for proper self-regulation as a more proactive way of dealing Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
She added regulations are in place to punish any illegalities from the trawlers.
“In the Ghana’s fisheries co management, traditional leaders and the sector ministry are to work together to improve compliance,” she indicated.
Her deputy, Kingsley Francis Ato Codjoe, lauded the supporting role civil society organisations in promoting effective fisheries management, especially in the fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing.
He said that the Ministry will revisit the Fisheries Volunteer Programme to ensure strong community participation in enforcing regulations on IUU fishing.
He also acknowledged the contribution of the Far Ban Bo, a fisheries governance project supported by the European Union and others for their support in addressing issues of illegal fishing.
As part of the Project’s activities to complement the Ministry’s effort in combatting illegal fishing activities, the Far Ban Bo project has established an IUU Community Monitoring Groups (CMGs) in five fishing communities including Dixcove, Anomabo and James Town.
The Project Coordinator, Kwame Mensah, said the CMGs will capture and record evidence of IUU that they come across during their normal fishing activities. These evidences, he said, will be documented and forwarded to the fisheries enforcement unit for the necessary redress.
The Kundum festival presented an opportunity for the Far Ban Bo Project to engage the various stakeholders within the Fisheries sector.
Prior to the grand durbar of chiefs, people of Lower Dixcove and beyond, the Far Ban Bo Project facilitated a fisheries’ dialogue session for fishermen, the traditional leaders and the Minster for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to discuss the role of traditional leaders in effective fisheries co- management.
The forum also presented a face to face platform for the community to interact with the Minister and the Fisheries Commission.
The Paramount Chief of Lower Dixcove, Nana Kwesi Agyeman IX used the occasion to encourage fishermen to embrace government’s directive on Closed Season when it is introduced in 2019.
“We need to embrace the closed season at some point as we are all witnessing very low catch these days. You are all aware Kundum was always celebrated with a lot of catch in the past. But that isn’t the case anymore.
“I know the Ministry’s decision to introduce the closed season in August was based on research and we will support it next year. So, I expect total support and commitment from all of you when it is announced,” Nana Kwasi Agyeman demanded.