Richster Nii Armah Amarfio, Secretary of the National Fisheries Association, has asked the government to treat the struggles of the fisheries sector as a national problem.
Speaking in an interview, Mr. Armafio opined that the government should be focusing on reviving the fisheries sector and not managing it.
“When you have a sector that is basically collapsing, what you need to think about is how to bring it back; how to restore it.”Mr Amarfio
Mr. Amarfio indicated that the policy that concerned the fishing sector needed to factor in other areas of development. One of the issues he cited was the management of waste.
“It is not a specific sector challenge. It is a national crisis that we have seen with the fisheries sector.
“We need to change our mentality towards construction. You can’t continue to construct drains and channel them into natural water bodies.”Mr Amarfio
Mr. Amafio’s comment came after reporting that only four out of 76 commercial fishing vessels are fully certified by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and presently undertaking fishing expeditions.
Because of this, Mr Amarfio expects Ghana to continue to rely on imports of fish. “We have basically been relying on imported fish. This Christmas is sad, but we will have to continue to deal with the imported fish.” he said.
According to him, Ghana imported about 343,000 megatonnes of seafood products in 2021, according to a United States Department of Agriculture report.
Fisheries Sector In Retrospect
The Fisheries and Aquaculture sector plays a crucial role in job creation, food and nutritional security, the generation of income and poverty reduction in Ghana.
Fish remains one of the most-traded food commodities in the country, contributing 60 per cent of the annual protein intake of Ghanaians, and in 2020 the total annual fish requirement was estimated at 1,242,917.60 metric tonnes.
There are three main areas in the fisheries sector in the country, namely Marine Capture Fisheries, Culture-Inland Fisheries, and Aquaculture.
The sector employs about 10 per cent of the population but management of the Fisheries sector is confronted with several challenges, key among them being Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing; climate change and plastic pollution.