Ghana moves to grow interagency cooperation to fight illegal fishing

By Stop Illegal Fishing:26th Jun, 2019: Port State Measures Agreement

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MOFAD) in Ghana held a two-day workshop on June 12-13th 2019, bringing together representatives from the key agencies involved in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of illegal fishing.

 

Opening the meeting Alex Sabah, Head of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance stressed the importance of fisheries nationally for economic development and as a significant source of food and nutrition security. He stated, “In Ghana we are reliant on fish for food, employment and income; this makes illegal fishing a significant threat to Ghana. The links between illegal fishing and labour, immigration, safety and security concerns demand a coordinated and collaborative response from a number of national agencies.”

 

Fisheries Commission of the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) Fisheries Advisor Abena Asante, representing Seraphin Dedi, FCWC Secretary-General, encouraged the key actors to take full ownership of the national interagency cooperation and to see their activities as a national tool to attract technical support to implement regional and national initiatives to address all Illegal fishing activities.

 

Mr Per Erik Bergh, Stop Illegal Fishing, provided an overview of the development of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) by the FAO as a low cost, low risk approach. The PSMA focuses resource on the denial or permission to port access. Emphasizing the need for national agencies to work together, Mr Bergh noted, “the PSMA process is essentially very straightforward, the real difficulty comes in getting agencies to work together, to share information and to support the decisions made as inevitably national authorities have competing priorities and agendas.”

 

The workshop provided an opportunity for the participating authorities to examine existing cooperation and opportunities for improved engagement. Attendees included Ghana’s Fisheries Commission, Fisheries Enforcement Unit, Police, Ports & Harbours Authority, Air Force, Customs Division, Bureau of National Investigation, National Security, Food and Drugs Authority, Port Health, Attorney General’s Department, Maritime Authority, Narcotics Control Board and the ECOWAS Multinational Maritime Coordination Center Zone F.

 

The FCWC, Trygg Mat Tracking and Stop Illegal Fishing supported the meeting through their ongoing support to the FCWC’s West Africa Task Force, which is working regionally to build cooperation at the national and regional level to stop illegal fishing.

 

Additional support was provided by Stop Illegal Fishing, who is working with the MOFAD in Ghana as part of a GIZ funded project, commissioned by the Federal Republic of Germany, to support the implementation of the PSMA in selected African countries.

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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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