Redirect pre-mix fuel subsidy to sustain fisheries resource

By Yaw Ansah, GNA    

Accra, Aug. 19, GNA – Professor Rashid
Sumaila, a Director at the Fisheries Economics Research Unit of the University
of British Colombia says the continuous pre-mix fuel subsidy by the government
is fueling the depletion of fish stock.

In his view, the fuel subsidy does not inure
to the benefit of the small-scale fisher folks but rather the large-scale
fishers, and that, the policy facilitated the depletion of the stock in the ocean.

Professor Sumaila, who was speaking at the
National Fisheries Conference on Fisheries and Coastal management in Accra, on Monday,
urged the government to redirect such funds to protect the ocean and ensure its
sustainability.

It was jointly organised by USAID
Sustainable Fisheries Management Project, the University of Cape Coast’s
Fisheries and Coastal Management and Capacity Building Project and the Fisheries
Commission, with funding from USAID.

Under the theme; “Fisheries and Coastal
Governance in Contemporary times”, the three-day conference seeks to highlight achievements,
opportunities, share lessons learnt and key challenges with the implementation
of the project.

Professor Sumaila called on government to
improve national fisheries management, make illegal fishing unprofitable and
buy insurance by creating the marine reserve.

He said the provision of subsidy in
different forms to the fisheries sector was not unique in Ghana but worldwide,
and that, it was having a negative impact on the ocean.

“Do not empty the ocean and go to sleep. We
are taking too much from nature without caring about its sustainability. It is
a disturbing issue that we need to think about and take steps to ensure its
sustainability because many livelihoods depend on it,” he said 

The ocean provides many services such as
oxygen, regulate earth climate, cultural, transportation, energy and jobs, but
we are disturbing it with overfishing, illegal fishing and pollution of all
sorts.”

Mr Steven E. Hendrix, the Acting Mission
Director, USAID/Ghana, said the fisheries sector plays a very important role in
Ghana’s socio-economic development; accounting for 1.2  per cent of growth domestic product in 2017,
and contributes significantly to national food security and nutrition.

He said fisheries and aquaculture were
sectors in Ghana’s broader blue economy, which was made up of all economic
activities that are dependent on the country’s ocean waters, rivers and lakes.

“We want to see the progress made in the
sector under the government as a great example of Ghana ‘beyond aid’ and its
long journey to self-reliance,” he said.

GNA

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