The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye has outlined plans by her outfit to regulate the operations of artisanal fishers in reducing the country’s fish supply deficit.
In her view, the inadequate production has led to an annual deficit of about fifty percent; the equivalent of about 600,000 metric tonnes of fish.
This is against the estimated annual demand of one million metric tonnes of fish.
The Minister who was speaking to law makers at her vetting by the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Thursday [February 9th, 2017] further said the ultimate reduction in the deficit will reduce Ghana’s import bills.
“We also intend to rope in the artisanal fishers in the closed season because we’ve realised that it is the small pelagics which they fish that are overexploited and depleted in our waters,” Madam Afoley Quaye said.
Currently the marine policy by the Ministry restricts both industrial and semi-industrial fishers from engaging in all time round fishing throughout the year.
The Minister also pledged her commitment to maintain the status quo.
“To ensure that we increase our fish production, we can reduce our marine and inland fishing efforts in the capture fisheries. We have started this already; with the industrial fishers, they have already observed their close season. We call it a moratorium because there is a marine protected area in which they are not allowed to fish.
“The semi-industrial fishers are currently observing a two-month close season which started in February and will end by the end of March.”
Other measures the Fisheries Ministry is expected to initiate to improve the sector’s contribution to the economy include the urgency to cut the cartel that has led to the exploitation of fishermen in under developed areas of the country.
By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana