Robust and transparent enforcement measures needed to end Saiko – EU

By
Isaac Arkoh/ Nana Oyeh Gyimah

Cape Coast , Oct 16,
GNA – The European Union ( EU) has urged the Government to put in place robust
and transparent measures to end the menace of illegal transshipment at sea
known as ” Saiko”.

The intervention, it
said had become ideal to end the highly damaging practice and other forms of
illegal fishing as it was fast depleting Ghana’s marine resources and
threatening human existence.

Madam Diana
Acconcia, the Ambassador European Union (EU) delegation to Ghana gave the
advice at a durbar held in her honour when she paid a working visit to the ‘Far
Dwuma Nkodo’ and Far Ban Bo’ projects being funded by the EU.

“There is much
to be done, if we are to safeguard the ecological gains from the closed season.
IUU fishing is rife across all fishing sectors from the industrial through to
the inshore and artisanal fleets. If we are to save Ghana’s Fisheries, all
fishers need to abandon their unsustainable and illegal practices and adopt a
more responsible path forward”, she said

The EU Ambassador
commended the Fisheries Commission and the Fisheries Enforcement Unit for
having the courage to impose one million dollars on a trawler vessel that had
juvenile small pelagic on board during the May-June Closed season.

Such robust and
transparent actions, she said would deter other operators from engaging
destructive forms of IUU fishing that undermined the good interventions of
management measures including; the closed season.

She assured the
Ghanaian Government and fishing communities of the EU’s support in the fight to
end the highly damaging practice of “Saiko” and other forms of illegal
fishing”, saying “it is clear that urgent action is required to save Ghana’s
coastal fisheries”.

She said the EU
remained resolute in supporting and promoting sustainable and regulated
economic activities through improved ocean governance and the development of
the blue economy.

The EU ambassador
noted with regret that fishery resources in West Africa were under increasing
pressure with growing evidence of IUU fishing being a component of an organised
cross border crime, money laundering among others.

She lamented that
despite the vital role of the fisheries sector in Ghana’s food security and
economic development, the average income per canoe continued to drop and the
country is forced to import more than half of its fishes consumed.

Madam Acconcia
encouraged Ghanaian fishers to protect the marine resources and to improve the
conditions for sustainable and regulated economic activities because the
collapse of coastal fisheries would have unimaginable implications for fishing
communities with potential for widespread poverty, civil unrest and threats to
national security.

Mr Socrates Segbor,
the Fisheries Programme Manager of the “ Far Dwuma Nkodo” project said the
project was aimed at securing greater environmental sustainability and social
equity in Ghana’s fisheries sector.

He said the project
supported efforts to reduce illegal fishing and built capacity of fishing
communities in the sustainable management of their resources through advocacy,
community consultations and training.

Mr Segbor mentioned
“saiko” as  one of the destructive
illegal fishing practices that hampered the development of the fisheries
sector, indicating that the enormous quantity of dish traded illegally through
Saiko made sustainable fisheries management impossible.

He emphasised that
eradicating “Saiko” would enhance food security and safeguard jobs , stimulate
the economy and boost the well-being of the nation.

Mr Kyei Yamoah,
Programmes Manager of Friends of the Nation (FoN), an implementing partner of
the “Far Ban Bo” project encouraged the fisher-folks to adhere to the
laws governing fisheries, desist from engaging in illegal fishing activities
and practise responsible fishing to safeguard the fisheries resource for
posterity.

Osabarima Kwesi Atta
II, Omanhen of Oguaa Traditional Area called for collective efforts to protect
the fisheries sector from collapse and implored the government to take the
issue of “Saiko” seriously and ensure that the practice was halted on the
Ghanaian waters.

GNA

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