The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) and the Fisheries Commission (FC) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, organized a three-day stakeholder consultation on the ongoing review of the fisheries regulations to incorporate and implement the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA). The stakeholder consultation was held at the Coconut Groove Hotel in Accra from September 18-20, 2023.
The reviewed Fisheries Regulations and the PSMA will support the fight to prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU) by implementing stringent measures at the local ports to prevent illegally caught fish from being landed.
In addressing the participants, the Deputy Minister for MoFAD, Hon. Moses Anim, mentioned that the successful implementation of the regulations would require the full collaboration and cooperation of all stakeholders, including government agencies, law enforcement institutions, industry players, and civil society organizations (CSOs). “Our collective effort is critical in ensuring that our actions are coordinated, consistent, and effective in combating IUU fishing”, he added.
IUU fishing poses a major threat to the ocean and marine ecosystems. It deprives fishing communities especially artisanal fishing communities of their livelihoods and undermines economic growth, as well as, national food security. Hence, if it is not effectively tackled, it would lead to the collapse of the fisheries sector, thus affecting livelihoods in fishing communities.
According to the Deputy Minister, the PSMA covers a wide range of areas such as port entry, inspection, exchange of information, and enforcement of sanctions against vessels engaged in IUU fishing activities.
Mr. Benjamin Agyei, a representative from the FAO, mentioned that the stakeholder engagement and consultations are being funded by the Fourth PSMA Global Capacity Development Programme Support Project which aims to assist the Government of Ghana in improving its capability for the cohesive implementation of the PSMA and related international instruments, regional mechanism, and tools to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing.
He added that “as part of the support, there is a need to meet the national legal requirement of stakeholder consultations. This way we can obtain the overall benefit of better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life for all, leaving no one behind.”
The stakeholders who were present included Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), the Ghana Navy, the National Fish Processors and Traders Association (NAFPTA), the National Fisheries Association of Ghana (NAFAG), the Ghana Police Service, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Ghana Tuna Association (GTA), Bulk fish Distribution companies, Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council, CSOs, the office of the Attorney General and all relevant stakeholders.