The Fisheries Act 625 of 2002 requires all fishing vessels including artisanal canoes, to be registered and to bear the markings of identity, Nii Amasa Naamoale, Deputy Minister of Agriculture in charge of Fisheries, has emphasised.
He said a Fishing Vessel Register and the marking of the Identification Number would become useful instruments to assist the Fisheries Commission in compiling the Fisheries data and information on canoes, fish landings amongst others.
Nii Amasa Naamoale, who was launching a pilot programme for the embossment of Canoe Registration Numbers in the Greater-Accra Region at the Canoe Beach at Tema New Town, noted that currently, identity markings for canoes in the form of symbols and names did not make canoe identification quick and accurate.
He said even though this requirement had been well complied with in respect of the industrial and semi-industrial fleets to a lesser extent, it had not been so with the artisanal fleet.
The Deputy Minister disclosed that the pilot programme would enable the Ministry to fix number plates on a total of one thousand out of 12,000 canoes currently operating in 10 districts along the marine coast.
Nii Naamoale explained that the canoe fishery was based on open access, thus making control of new entrants almost impossible.
He pointed out that data collection from canoes and fishers was not very effective, adding that regular frame surveys to update information on canoes and gear, were expensive in terms of logistics and manpower, time consuming, unreliable and inefficient.
The Deputy Minister who is also the Member of Parliament for La-Dadekotopon, said a proper registration and identity of artisanal canoes was expected to yield enormous benefits, which include the quick and accurate identification of canoes.
"The availability of a complete canoe register to eventually eliminate the need for future frame surveys, improved fisheries monitoring system and a better control of new entrants to the artisanal fisheries sub-sector in order to avoid the open access.
In an address read for him, Mr. Musa Saihou Mbenga, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative in Ghana, said the World body viewed the need to put in place management measures in the artisanal fishery as a crucial for food security in Ghana.
Mr. Mbenga pledged FAO's continued support for the fisheries sub-sector in the country, through the provision of technical assistance and guidance, especially in the elaboration of plans for the implementation of the draft Ghana Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy.
Nii Armah Ashietey, Greater Accra Regional Minister, commended FAO for its financial support for the pilot project.
He said in order to support and sustain the fishing industry, government through an enhanced co-ordination of marine activities, would continue to engage the fisher folks to find a lasting solution to sustaining the pre-mix fuel system.
"Government would equip the Navy and the allied security agencies to be well placed in order to enforce the prohibition of the use of unorthodox fishing methods currently being used by some foreign fishing trawlers which continued to deplete our marine fish resources."
The Regional Minister asked the fisher folks to desist from using forbidden practices such as the use of chemicals to trap fish; pair trawling; and prohibited lights, in their operations, since they contributed immensely to the depletion of fish stocks "in our waters".
Nii Adjei Kraku, Tema Mantse, who chaired the function, called for the dredging of landing sites which in his view, were at the moment heavily silted and choked.
Nii Naamoale and Nii Ashitey, assisted by the Tema Mantse, in a demonstration embossed registration numbers on some of the canoes at the beach.
Among dignitaries present at the launch were Mr. Mike Akyeampong, Chairman of the Fisheries Commission, and Nii Abeo Kyerekuandah, Executive Secretary of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council.
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