The lack of adequate laws and logistics is crippling the fisheries sector in Ghana, the Director of Marine Police at the Takoradi Railways and Port Unit of the Ghana Police Service, ACP Samuel Owusu-Berko has said.
According to him, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is escalating in the country’s fishing space, leading to the “destruction of local fish stock and rendering local communities vulnerable and poor”.
Speaking at the commemoration of the World Fisheries Day at Dixcove in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region, ACP Owusu Berko noted that, the lack of enforcement of existing laws has given rise to the use of forbidden methods by fishermen.
“Many factors are promoting unreported and unregulated fishing in Ghana. There are inadequate laws to regulate fishing activities, but their enforcement is weak, due to poor logistics, inadequate law enforcement personnel, and limited public education”.
He said this at the event organized by Friends of the Nation, Oxfam Ghana, with the support of Care Ghana and the European Union.
ACP Berko opined that, there is no time to waste in providing appropriate logistics to officers of the Ghana Marine Police Unit, because “Ghana and countries in the West Central Gulf area, had recently become the target of illegal fishing activities from both foreign and local fishing vessels and groups, destroying local fish stock and rendering local communities vulnerable and poor”.
Since the year 2000, there has been a sharp decline in fish stock in Ghana, which has been blamed on bad fishing practices including the use of light, chemicals, and explosives such as carbide and dynamite, among other unhealthy methods in fishing.
Another practice which has contributed to the decline of fish stock is the use of pair trawlers within the areas demarcated for artisanal fishing.
ACP Owusu-Berko believes these factors are the reason why “seasonal bumper fish catches, no longer occur because of the violation of fisheries laws and regulations”.
“I believe there must be the need to reflect continuous capacity building that can help law enforcement officers to effectively handle issues bordering unreported and unregulated fishing, in order to give effectiveness and edge over the challenges that we face” ACP Owusu-Berko suggested.