The acting Head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Ghana, Paolo Salvia, has intimated that, the Union is committed to supporting the conservation and sustainable management and the use of natural resources as well as protecting the marine ecosystems in the ECOWAS region.
In view of this, the EU has announced its support to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with £1 millionfor the construction of a well-coordinated fisheries management system in the sub region. The project which is to be carried out within a four-year period is dubbed, “Improved fisheries Governance in West Africa-PESCAO”. It aims to develop fisheries policies among others at the regional level.
As implemented by the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) – an intergovernmental body, the project is expected to conform with every efforts by member countries in order to sustain the sector.
Paolo was speaking at the launch of the FCWC-PESCAO project for improved fisheries governance in West Africa, at the Coconut Grove Regency Hotel in Accra on Tuesday July 30, 2018.
Paolo underscored the need for all partners in the project to work together with various stakeholders to harmonize the lives of coastal folks, and to protect fisheries resources for posterity.
In his remarks, the General Secretary of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), Serpahin Dedi, lamented the influx of fish poaching within the West African sub region.
According to him, one of the challenges facing the West African region is the high incident of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and its associated trade in illicit drugs.
Mr. Dedi, indicated that, foreign vessels are not only poaching the fish, but also using the West African Waters as transit routes for their trade in hard drugs and many others.
“As you are all aware, the importance of fisheries sector to the economy of countries in the West African sub-region cannot be under estimated. Many of our citizens are dependent on fishing, and the fishing tradition has been the livelihood for several generations,” He added.
“We must work together as a team to achieve the common goal of the project, which exists to improve fish stocks and the livelihood of the population across the West African Region,” He noted.
The Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture and MP for Ekumfi constituency in the Central region, Mr. Francis Kingsley Ato Cudjoe, also disclosed that about 6 million fishes are lost to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing yearly.
He attributed the loss to the weak monitoring of marine activities has resulted in overfishing, leading to the decline in the fisheries’ stock.
Mr. Ato Cudjoe said, “In terms of IUU, there are some estimates that I have seen that suggests that, we are losing over 600 million annually to fish that is taken from our seas due to IUU. We have allowed, over the years, for our fishes to be over fished.”
He added that the implementation of the closed season scheduled on 7th August, 2018, is meant to improve the livelihood of over 3 million Ghanaians within the sector.
The PESCAO project is being funded by the European Union Commission and it’s made up of three components, coordination among institutions, monetary control of systems to combat illegal fisheries and the assessment of marine resources for better management in the region.