Ports Task Force Ghana

The Ports Task Force Ghana is supporting agencies to work together to stop illegally caught fish from being landed and to stop illegal fishing vessels entering Ghanas’ ports. The Ports Task Force Ghana is supported by the Port State Measures to Stop Illegal Fishing (PSM-SIF) initiative and is a part of the African Ports Network.  

The Ports Task Force Ghana is working to implement the National Strategy and Action Plan for the implementation of the 2009 FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA) and complimentary international instruments and mechanisms. The impact of this work is anticipated to improve opportunities for blue growth and to contribute to the generation of food, nutrition and socio-economic development that will help end poverty and hunger in Ghana and Africa.

The global PSMA came into force in 2016 and enables port officials to deny foreign vessels access to their port, and to services such as refuelling and repairs, if they are suspected of illegal activities. Vessels can be turned away or subjected to immediate inspection on arrival and prohibited from landing their fish if there is evidence that it was caught or transhipped illegally.

Why is the Ports Task Force needed?

The fisheries sector is very important for Ghana’s economy and coastal communities, with income derived from fishing and related activities, constituting around 60% of total household incomes. Tema and Takoradi are key ports providing offloading, transhipment, bunkering and repair services for fishing vessels, support vessels and reefers. The exports of high value fish such as frozen tuna, tuna loins and canned tuna loins, and crab and lobster bring valuable export earnings to Ghana’s economy.

However, illegal operators target ports with weak controls and this in turn leads to possible identification as ports of convenience or ports of non-compliance. This happened in 2013, when the European Union imposed a warning or ‘yellow card’ to Ghana, identifying weak monitoring, control and surveillance, and insufficient port controls as key challenges to identify and stop illegally caught fish from being caught and landed in Ghanas’ ports.

How will the Ports Task Force Ghana make a difference?

Protecting Ghana’s ports by:

  • Refusing known or suspected IUU vessels access to our ports.
  • Identifying high-risk vessels for inspection or investigation.
  • Working hand-in-hand across agencies to ensure that illegal operators are identified, sanctioned, and stopped.
  • Establishing systems and procedures that reduce the risk of corruption.

Protecting Ghana’s fisheries by:

  • Checking and inspecting vessels to ensure that fishing activity is sustainable, with catch coming from authorised areas and that the correct gear type is used.
  • Checking that protected or endangered species are not targeted.
  • Increasing compliance in the industrial sector to also support sustainable practices in the artisanal sector.

Protecting Ghana’s economy by:

  • Identifying under-reporting or misreporting of catches which reduces taxes.
  • Shutting down illegal operators who launder money and avoid paying taxes.
  • Systematically targeting repeat offenders who systematically conduct illegal fishing.
  • Ensuring that Ghanas’ ports are clean and compliant so that the country can benefit from blue growth.

Protecting Ghana’s people by:

  • Promoting a legitimate and equitable environment for all fishers and their communities.
  • Checking crew and observer conditions to ensure that decent working and living conditions are provided.
  • Checking that vessels are safe for those working on them.

How does the Ports Task Force Ghana work?

Stop Illegal Fishing provides technical expertise and support to the Ports Task Force Ghana through:

  • A real time communications platform.
  • Multi-agency standard operating procedures.
  • A capacity building programme.
  • Legal and operational mentoring expertise.
  • Facilitation of interagency meetings and cooperation.
  • Manuals and guides to provide easy to use practical information.
  • Tools and equipment to support operations.

Who is involved in the Ports Task Force Ghana?

The Ports Task Force Ghana is coordinated by the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Division of Ghana’s Fisheries Commission of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, and supported by Stop Illegal Fishing. The Ports Task Force Ghana mission is to support the implementation of effective port State measures in Ghanas’ ports.

By working in partnership with the key agencies involved in the identification, investigation and prosecution of illegal fishing, the trade in illegally caught fish and crimes in the fisheries sector, the Ports Task Force Ghana will help to keep illegally caught fish out of its’ ports and deter illegal operators from fishing in our waters and using our ports.

Ports Task Force Ghana members include:

  • Fisheries Commission
  • Marine Police
  • Navy
  • Ports and Harbour Authority
  • Maritime Authority
  • National Security
  • Attorney General’s Office
  • Immigration Service
  • Air Force
  • Revenue Authority
  • Food and Drugs Authority
  • Bureau of National Investigation
  • Port Health Services

The Ports Task Force Ghana is supported by Stop Illegal Fishing, through the PSM-SIF initiative with funding from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the Global Programme Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Special Initiative.

Download the Ports Task Force Ghana leaflet here.

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What impact are we having?

The Issues

One in four fish in Africa is caught illegally, this threatens the sustainability of fish stocks, damages the ecosystem and deprives governments of income and people of livelihoods.

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Our Approach

Creating change by informing policy and practice, our hands on experience and investigative work means we are often the first to spot new trends and find ways to challenge these.

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Our Initiatives

Illegal fishing is a complex issue that requires multifaceted responses. Stop Illegal Fishing are working with a range of organisations to bring about change.

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