The Ghana Tuna Association (GTA) has called on the government to take urgent steps to revive the tuna industry in the country. According to the GTA, allowing the tuna industry to die will not only affect players of the industry but also those downstream that depend on its activities to make a living.
As such, the Association is pleading with the government to take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to create a market for tuna in the landlocked countries.
AfCFTA has huge potentials as it is estimated to boost intra-African trade by over 52 percent through the creation of a free trade single market for goods and services to reduce trade costs.
Mr Richster Nii Amarh Amarfio, Secretary of the GTA, who made the call, disclosed that even though Ghana has enough tuna to meet its demands, the EU market remains the only hope for the survival of the industry.
Need to break to EU monopoly
Mr Amarfio argued that until a big market for tuna is created within Africa, the European Union will continue to exert its monopoly power on trade issues within the industry.
“Europeans eat a lot of tuna both raw and canned so the majority of it goes to the EU market; that’s why they have enough control over us”.
Mr Amarfio said Ghana could decide to take advantage of the AfCFTA to break free from such controls by creating the needed market within the continent.
For instance, he pointed out that 70 percent of the tuna caught by Association members went to the Pioneer Food Cannery (PFC) and other canned tuna factories which employ a large number of the youth.
Mr Amarfio added that creating an internal market could also come in a form of developing dishes that would make use of tuna. He pointed out that local patronage of tuna remains low because “I have not seen hotels in Ghana using tuna in their dishes apart from the canned ones they use for salads”.
Ghana among top leading producers of Tuna
Mr Amarfio further disclosed that Ghana is among the five leading producers of Tuna in the world. According to him, Ghana currently has 37 tuna vessels made up of 20 poles and line and 17 purses seine on the register of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The ICCAT is responsible for the management and conservation of tuna and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas.
On his part, Mr Francis Ameyibor, Tema Regional Manager of the Ghana News Agency said “as Industrial News Hub, GNA-Tema has created a platform for industrial players to use, and for other stakeholders to reach out in a proactive means while serving as grounds to address national issues”.
Mr Francis Ameyibor stated that a lot of things happen at sea and in the fishing industry that the public needs to know. This, he said, necessitated the engagement with the GTA to throw light on its sector.
Mr Ameyibor explained that activities on the sea constitute one of the most dynamic but are under-reported by the media. As such, he stated that the agency has created a platform to accord stakeholders the opportunity to reach out to the world.