Ports Task Force Ghana established

By Stop Illegal Fishing:2nd Aug, 2019: Port State Measures to Stop Illegal Fishing

The Ports Task Force Ghana (PTFG), established to support the implementation of port State measures to stop illegal fishing, held its inaugural meeting in Tema on the 16th July 2019.

The one-day Ports Task Force Ghana (PTFG) meeting was convened by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MOFAD) and brought together representatives from xx agencies involved in port controls for fishing vessels. It 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, Marine Police, Bureau of National Investigation, National Security, Food and Drugs Authority, Port Health, Attorney General’s Department, Maritime Authority, Narcotics Control Board, West African Task Force (WATF) and the Fishery Committee of the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC).

Mr Alex Sabah, Director of Monitoring Control and Surveillance (MCS), Fisheries Commission, welcomed participants to the meeting and stressed the importance of fisheries nationally for economic development and as a significant source of food and nutrition security. He said, “This makes illegal fishing a significant threat to Ghana, and the links to labour, immigration, safety and security concerns demand a coordinated and collaborative response from a number of national agencies.”

The meeting provided an opportunity to launch the PTFG Online Communications Portal with nominated focal points from the participating agencies. Mr JD Kotze, Stop Illegal Fishing expert, encouraged the identified key actors to take full ownership of the national interagency cooperation through the PTFG and its activities. He commented, “Ghana is party to the Food and Agriculture Organization Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA), to effectively implement the PSMA provisions requires significant collaboration, cooperation and information sharing between national agencies. The PTFG now has a valuable tool that makes the process of sharing and requesting information easier, faster and more transparent. This will facilitate improved risk assessments on vessels coming into port, and on decisions to deny access when illegal activity is identified.”

Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF) supported the meeting technically and financially through their work to implement port state measures to stop illegal fishing (PSM-SIF) across Africa. 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.

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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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