The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is to support the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) to address the issues of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing along the shores of the country.
Labelled the “Technical Co-operation Programme (TCP),” the support would assist the MoFAD to review and amend its domestic legislation, develop a national plan of action against IUU and a scheme of sanctions which draws on the FAO’s Port State Measures Agreement.
An agreement to give effect to this was signed between the MoFAD and the FAO last Thursday in Accra. The sector Minister, Mr Nayon Bilijo, signed on behalf of the MoFAD, while Dr Lamourdia Thiombiano, the FAO representative to Ghana, initialled for the UN agency.
Benefits of the TCP Facility
Mr Bilijo said “The assistance from the FAO would strengthen Ghana’s capacity to manage and reduce illegal fishing and increase the value and profitability generated by fish resources and their contribution to the national economy.”
In March 2013, Ghana was confronted with issues relating to IUU fishing which eventually led to some EU countries placing trade blockades on tuna exports from the country.
At the peak of the tuna crisis last year, about 6,000 jobs in industrial fish processing were threatened.
“ It is, therefore, important that the fisheries resources are managed prudently to satisfy domestic, regional and international obligations,” Mr Bilijo said.
He said the Ghana Fisheries Commission, which was mandated to manage and regulate the unitisation of the fisheries resources, had challenges in many fronts, hence the need to seek assistance from the FAO.
Dr Thiombiano said the MoU signified the need to address a major threat to local, national and sub-regional economies and marine ecosystem, particularly, in Ghana.
He said minimising the occurrence of IUU fishing in Ghana’s waters was of paramount importance in the effort to manage and sustain fisheries resources for future generations.
“It will send welcoming signals to local and international partners, as well as open the window for employment generation and international trade,” Mr Thiombiano added.
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