Foreign Fishing Vessels Ownership in Ghana must be Streamlined-Experts (Video)

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The increase in industrial fishing vessels with foreign ownership in Ghana’s territorial waters, in violation of the fisheries industry governing laws, is causing an alarm.

Despite the fact that foreign-owned vessels are not permitted to fish in Ghana, many vessels flying the national flag were actually owned by foreigners, with some Ghanaians serving as fronts for benefitsGhana’s fish stocks are under severe pressure.

Its pelagic fishery, sardinella, anchovy and mackerel, are on the going extinct.

Annual landings have declined to around 20,000 tons from over 80,000 tons in the 1990s even though fishing effort has increased.

The challenge is linked to a number of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing practices including the over population of industrial fishing vessels.Some of these industrial fishing vessels are said to be operating illegally.

The fisheries act 625, 2002 prohibits foreigners from operating industrial vessels or trawlers in Ghana.

Section 47 of act 625 says an industrial or semi-industrial fishing vessel must be owned or controlled by a citizen of Ghana, the government, or owned or controlled by a company or partnership registered by law in Ghana.

But research has shown that this aspect of the law is being violated with many vessels illegally flying Ghana flags.

The Centre for Maritime Law and Security, CEMLAWS, Africa, and the centre for coastal management at the university of cape coast have trained journalist to help expose these and other issues in Ghana’s fisheries sector.

The director of the centre for coastal management, professor Dennis Worlanyo Aheto, expressed regret over lack of resources and financing to empower the local people.

According to him, there must be a deliberate effort to ensure that the laws work in the interest of the local people and the country.

Some of the beneficiaries were delighted over the exposure and knowledge gained.

They also look forward for more collaborative efforts to enable them produce more in-depth and facts driven stories on the fisheries industry and climate impact.  

The journalists are also to educate the public on climate impact on the coastal environment to inform decision making.

By Peter Quao Adattor

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