The Programmes Manager of Friends of the Nation (FoN), a social-environmental Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Mr Kwadwo Kyei Yamoah says the organisation is making frantic efforts to rally all stakeholders in the fisheries sector to redouble their efforts to ensure the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially the goal 14.
He said the fisheries sector continues to remain a major backbone to Ghana's economy hence the need to resuscitate the industry from collapse.
Mr Yamoah was speaking to Graphic Online on the sidelines after an engagement with the media in Takoradi.
The media engagement was to draw the attention of stakeholders in the fishing industry to some pertinent issues and the demand for the political and social will to push for effective implementation of the fisheries laws in the country.
The programme was under the auspices of FoN with sponsorship from the BUSAC Fund as part of the implementation of a project dubbed, "Advocacy for Effective Implementation of Fisheries laws and Management Plans" aimed at promoting and sustaining fisheries livelihoods and secure fish food security and nutrition.
Sustainable Development Goals
Mr Yamoah noted that several attempts have been made to contribute to achieving some of the SDGs in Ghana yet little effort is seen at achieving the SDG goal 14 ( live underwater) due to the weak implementation of management plans, lack of effective enforcement of the laws coupled with low compliance which remain a major constraint to achieving the SDG goal 14 indicator 14.4 which seeks to contribute to by the end of 2020, effectively regulate harvesting, end overfishing, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and destructive fishing practices.
The Executive Director of FoN, Mr Donkris Mevuta posited that sustainable enforcement of the fisheries laws and implementation of the management plans is urgently needed, stressing that "there is no value if the law cannot be implemented with high compliance and deterrence".
He noted that the major hindrance to fisheries enforcement and prosecution has been the inadequate political commitment to support fisheries enforcement and prosecution.
He explained that there is low political will due to high political interferences.
Mr Mevuta added that "there are high-level political functionaries involved in the fishing industry either owning vessels and boats directly or indirect beneficiaries.
He, therefore, called for reduced political interferences in fisheries enforcement and prosecution to promote effective implementation of the Fisheries Laws and Management Plans.
Mr Mevuta stressed the need to stop the blame game where fishers blame each other for use of illegal gears while the government blames fishers for low compliance.
He urged players in the industry to put a stop to selective enforcement and enforce all fisheries laws.
A Monitor with BUSAC Fund, Mr George K. Brown Amissah disclosed that BUSAC Fund with funding from USAID and DANIDA is supporting advocacy for effective implementation of the fisheries laws and management plans.
The move, he noted, is to address the weakness in fisheries governance and deal with fish insecurity through capacity building of fisherfolks to participate effectively in fisheries governance to tap their expertise for prudent management of fisheries resources.