The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mrs Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, has revealed government’s plan to supply suitable fishing nets to fishermen at a reduced price as part of measures to support the fisheries sector.
She said the fisheries sector provided economic livelihood to a large number of the population, particularly those in the coastal and inland enclaves, which is estimated to be about 10% of the total population, as envisaged by the Sustainable Development goal 8.
Mrs Afoley Quaye disclosed this when she made a presentation on ‘Protecting Fisheries and Aquaculture for sustainable food supply and job creation’ at the sixth National Policy Summit in Cape Coast.
The presentation by the Minister, who is also Member of Parliament for Krowor Constituency, focused on government’s vision for the fishing sector, promoting aquaculture development, enhancing sustainable marine fisheries management, and fisheries infrastructure development.
The Minister stressed on government’s vision as enshrined in the Medium-Term National Development Policy Framework (2018 – 2021) to transform and grow the fisheries and aquaculture sub-sectors to increase their productive share in GDP over time.
“With the challenges being faced in the marine sub-sector, government’s focus is to stimulate aquaculture production that will assist a drastic reduction in domestic fish imports for Ghana, and thereby increase foreign savings. This is a clear policy shift which emphasises increased aquaculture production as one of the key flagships of President Akufo-Addo,” she said.
Promoting aquaculture development
Mrs Afoley Quaye said government was determined to increase its support to the aquaculture industry with the objective of increasing domestic fish production to gradually offset the importation of fish and fishery products, and create additional job opportunities along the aquaculture value chain for the teeming unemployed youth, particularly in rural communities.
“In this regard, the government, through MoFAD, is implementing the ‘Aquaculture for Food and Jobs’ (AFJ) flagship programme to complement the ongoing national ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ initiative. Under the AFJ programme, an estimated 10,200 unemployed youth will be mobilised into Aquaculture Enterprise Groups and supported with the necessary inputs such as fish feed, fingerlings, tanks and cages to engage in commercial fish farming.
“Economically viable and distressed aquaculture establishments, second-cycle institutions and other public institutions will also be supported to set up new aquaculture production outlets”.
“The programme is being implemented in collaboration with the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo) and is estimated to create additional 7,000 direct and indirect jobs and provide 33,628mt additional fish annually for three years (2019-2021),” she said.
Sustainable marine sector management
The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture noted that the marine sector was being faced with declining fish stocks. She said, “If immediate preventive actions are not taken to halt the decline, Ghana will continue to be a net importer of fish in the next two to three decades.
“The government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will not allow such a calamity to befall the nation.”
She disclosed that government had, therefore, initiated pragmatic steps that will halt the declining marine fish stocks in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
These include closed season, reducing illegal fishing, and promoting stakeholder participation in fisheries management.
Enhancing fisheries infrastructure development
The Minister said as part of plans to transform the fisheries sector, fisheries infrastructure, including landing sites and fishing harbours, the Fisheries College, improved processing facilities and hatcheries were being constructed.
She revealed that her ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport, will commence the construction of 10 landing sites in selected fishing communities at all the four coastal regions of the country. The completion of the landing site will help increase the productivity of fishers.
“Government has also secured a US$50 million Chinese grant for the construction of the Jamestown Fishing Harbour Complex.
The necessary preparatory works, including the drafting of the design, land and geological survey works have been completed. Construction of the Jamestown Harbour Complex is scheduled to start by September 2019,” she added.
She also said the first phase of the Anomabo Fisheries College project, comprising classroom blocks, administration, hostels and laboratories, will be completed by December 2019.
Mrs Afoley Quaye assured participants at the summit that her ministry was committed to protecting the fisheries resources to ensure the optimal utilisation of fish and fishery product in line with SDG goals 1, 2, 3 & 14.
Source: The Finder