Unreliable data hampering work in the fishing sector – Gilbert Sam
Mr Gilbert Sam, Manager of the Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association, has said insufficient and unrealistic data in the fishing sector is hampering effective work and called for a modification of the closed and open fishing season dates.
He said data on fish stocks and marine ecosystems need to be updated regularly and the absence of relevant data is a challenge in the sector.
Speaking over the weekend at a workshop held to discuss challenges in the fishing sector, Mr Sam said West Africa loses about 1.3 billion dollars annually due to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The event was held under the theme: Towards consensus building –improved fisheries governance in GHEITI.
Participants at the two-day Friedrich-Erbert-Stiftung sponsored workshop included various members of the Industrial Trawlers Association; Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council; Inland Canoe Fishermen Council; Ghana National Fish Traders and Processors, amongst others.
Mr Sam said the adoption of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative Bill (GHEITI bill) would greatly improve inter-sectoral cooperation and regional fisheries management.
The discovery of oil and the designation of oil blocks, especially in the western part of the country, he said have greatly restricted fishing activities.
Mr Sam said this is besides the conflict and distrust between trawl operators and marine canoe fishermen, hence the need for transparency and accountability in the sector to help reduce the constant bickering amongst the various associations.
There should be openness and transparency, he said, with regards to conditions attached to fishing authorizations and contracts of fishing access agreements signed between fishing nations and coastal states amongst others.
Mr Noble Wadza, an executive of Oilwatch-Ghana, said Government of Ghana signed on to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) in 2003.
He said this became known as the GHEITI bill which is yet to be passed into law.
Mr Wadza said this is the vehicle through which governance in the natural resources sector can be enhanced and hence, the need for all to come on board in the effort to address emerging concerns in the sector.