The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea has launched a project in Accra called PESCAO aimed at improving the fisheries sector in West Africa .
The project, funded by the European Union, is expected to address the challenges of poor management of fish stock, Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and lack of coordination among regional institutions and national authorities.
The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) is an inter-governmental body, established in 2007 with its secretariat based in Tema and has the aim of facilitating cooperation in fisheries management between member countries, namely Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria.
Fish export is a significant economic activity to member states of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea.
However, the sector is fraught with challenges which include poor access and conditions at major fish markets in the sub-region.
The Secretary-General of the FCWC, Seraphin Dedi, said the PESCAO project among other things will build the capacities of regional monitoring, control and surveillance authorities to deal with challenges within the fishing industry.
“Dealing to combat this illegal fishing and within this PESCAO project, we are being given opportunity to strengthen the coordination among the six member countries of the committee to improve the governance of the fishing management throughout the establishment of a regional vessel monitoring system,” he said.
The Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Francis Ato Cudjoe, called for a regional approach to combat illegal fishing.
“Fish is a migrating resource, so the fishes move around the West African region and therefore if we are going to develop policies, we need to develop that. Negotiating with EU stronger bodies that have developed stronger policies, and we are going as Ghana, we already stand at a disadvantage. When we come together and we harmonize the policies we take strong positions at international level everybody will respect us.”