“This basically means we are losing our fish stock, so we have to find ways of reversing this to make sure we are sustainable,”
The Secretary of the Ghana Tuna Association, Richster Nii Armah Amarfio, has identified excess capacity as the major contributor to Ghana’s rapidly declining fish stock.
According to Mr Amarfio who was speaking on Eye on Port programme on GTV, there were too many fishing activities going on in Ghana’s marine spaces, making it near impossible to recover the lost fish stock.
He said Ghana had crossed the maximum sustainable yield which indicated an over exploitation of the country’s fish stock.
“From the last fisheries management plan after World Bank project, we are talking about 9000 canoes as the limit but we have close to 15,000. At the time we had over 100 trawlers, the proposition was 45 but we agreed to 75 so now we have about 75 trawlers,” MrAmarfio revealed.
“This basically means we are losing our fish stock, so we have to find ways of reversing this to make sure we are sustainable,” he added.
The Secretary of the Ghana Tuna Association asserted that with Ghana operating an open access fishing system, without a functioning regulatory mechanism, the excess capacity only looks to increase.
As such he suggested that together with the closed season practice, other interventions should be introduced by government to address the problem of overcapacity, such as a pension scheme.
The Secretary of the Ghana Tuna Association, recommended that a special pension scheme for old fishermen would provide a decent source of income during their old age enabling them retire early, resulting in a large number of them removed from the sector in a sustainable manner.
He also stated that there should be a deliberate educational policy for the youth in fishing communities that would absorb them into other vocations, leading to a decrease in the reliance of coastal communities on fishing activities.
“If I were a fisherman, and I have three children and each of them have 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. If you provide the children with education and alternative vocations, they will not all have to come back into the industry,” he elaborated.
He said while this may not result in an overnight success story, it would yield much success in the long term.