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Senior Minister Issues ‘Red Alert’ Against Illicit Fishing Methods   
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Yaw Osafo Marfo
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The Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has stated that plans are afoot for the establishment of three development authorities, including the coastal development authority.

He said the coastal development authority would assist the four coastal regions, namely: Volta, Greater Accra, Central and Western regions, to boost the local economies of those areas, while creating employment to improve their quality of life.

Fishing industry

Mr Osafo-Maafo said this at the closing of a three-day conference on Fisheries and Coastal Environment in Accra.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development organised the conference in collaboration with the University of Cape Coast (UCC) and the University of Rhodes Island to help sanitise the fishing industry.

It was on the theme: “The Changing Marine Fisheries and Coasts: Challenges and Opportunity for Changing Mind.”

Mr Osafo-Maafo expressed the regret that many of the fishermen and fisheries practitioners in the country flouted the fisheries laws, either ignorantly or deliberately.

He urged the leadership of the various fisheries practitioners and associations to do more in getting their members to comply with the laws regulating the fisheries industry.

“To the chief fishermen, the question I do ask frequently is: what has become of the traditional authority that you exercised over the fishermen in the areas of ensuring rational fishing practices, including the observation of the traditional systems of the close season?” Mr Osafo-Maafo queried.

Neighbouring countries

He, however, indicated that when those same fishermen travelled to the neighbouring countries, they did not practise light fishing, the close-seasons were observed while all manner of illegal fishing methods were abandoned.“Yet, when in their own country, measures are put forward to attempt to address the problems in the fisheries, they are strongly resisted. This must stop,” he stressed.

“Yet, when in their own country, measures are put forward to attempt to address the problems in the fisheries, they are strongly resisted. This must stop,” he stressed.

He, therefore, declared “red alert,” to all forms of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing methods in the country and tasked the relevant law enforcement agencies to carry out the order to the letter.

Mr Osafo-Maafo also called on the media to partner the government and other stakeholders to fight illegal fishing, as in the case of illegal mining, to ensure sustainable development of the fishing industry.

Innovative ways

For his part, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Professor Joseph Ghartey, said the conference reaffirmed the commitment of the UCC to the sustainability of fisheries and coastal resources of the country, which brought very significant contributions to food security, employment and poverty alleviation.

“By virtue of our strategic location, UCC is proud to be organising this conference, but most importantly, I am pleased it comes at a critical time; a time when all key stakeholders, government, fisheries practitioners, scientists and the private sector are deeply concerned about the decline in fisheries output and the worsening coastal environment.”

Policy linkages

The Director of the Centre for Coastal Management (CCM) of the university, Professor Denis Worlanyo Aheto, said the conference was designed to strengthen policy linkages and enable researchers, journalists and think tanks to connect their voices to sustainable fisheries and coastal development agenda of the country.

Therefore, the conference discussed sub-themes on fisheries and coastal governance policy, fisheries economics and value chains, ocean and coastal environment, marine culture and green businesses for the coastal environment among others, he said.
Source: Daily Graphic

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