Mr Richster Nii Armah Amarfio, the Secretary of the Ghana Tuna Association (GTA), says Ghana is over-exploiting its fish stock and needs a holistic approach to curb it.
Mr Amarfio, who is also a Fisheries Advocate, said the country had crossed the maximum sustainable yield, which indicates an over-exploitation of the fish stock.
“This basically means we are losing our fish stock, so we have to find ways of reversing this to make sure we are sustainable.”
Mr Amarfio stated this during a Seminar at the Tema Regional Office of the Ghana News Agency.
The platform allowed state and non-state actors to address national issues.
The GTA Secretary said overcapacity was a major contributor to Ghana’s rapidly declining fish stock, adding that there were too many fishing activities going on in the country’s marine spaces, making it near impossible to recover the lost fish stock.
He expressed fear that the capacity would increase due to the open access fishing system Ghana was running in the absence of a functioning regulatory mechanism.
He, therefore, called for other interventions such as a pension scheme to complement the close season as that alone would not solve the overcapacity problem.
He explained that data from the last fisheries management plan, a World Bank project, Ghana had about 15,000 canoes against the 9,000 canoes as the limit needed in its waters, with 6,000 canoes in excess.
He said the country, in the past, had over 100 trawlers as compared to the proposition of 45. Currently, the country has agreed to 75 trawlers in its waters.
Mr Amarfio also reiterated calls for a special pension scheme for old fishermen to provide them with a decent source of income during old age, which would facilitate their early retirement, resulting in a large number of them being sustainably removed from the sector.
He said alongside the pension, a deliberate educational policy for the youth in fishing communities should be initiated to absorb them into other vocations as a way to decrease the over-reliance on fishing activities in coastal communities.
“If I were a fisherman, and I have three children and each of them has five children, and we decide to all go into fishing, that is a lot from one family alone.
“One canoe may be too small for us, and we may need more; the more families may need to rely solely on fishing, the more the capacity increases, but if you provide the children with education and alternative vocations, they will not all have to come back into the industry,” he explained.
By Laudia Sawer, GNA