Only 19 fishing vessels cleared to fish under new IUU fishing measures – Hawa Koomson

Only 19 fishing vessels cleared to fish under new IUU fishing measures – Hawa Koomson

56 vessels out of the 76 fishing vessels have been grounded for non-compliance with the new Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing measures by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD).

Only 19 have currently been cleared to fish on the seas.

The Sector Minister, Mavis Hawa Koomson disclosed this in an interview with Graphic Online on Friday, January 13, 2023.

The Ministry introduced new fish measures to deal with Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing on Ghanaian waters.

As part of the measures, vessels with unauthorised fishing nets are forbidden to fish on Ghanaian waters.

Mavis Hawa Koomson told Graphic Online that the Ministry was prepared to get rid of all forms of IUU fishing on Ghanaian waters.

She assured that the Ministry will do all it can to comply with internationally accepted sustainable fishing practices.

Hawa Koomson further noted that the lack of suitable fishing equipment, such as fishing nets, was a significant factor in IUU fishing throughout the world, and Ghana was no exception.

For this reason, the Ministry decided to begin the fight against IUU fishing with fishing gear.

In order to ensure that all fishing vessels operating in Ghanaian waters have the proper sort of gear before being given permission to fish, the Minister stated that the Ministry, along with its agencies and departments, has begun a new and severe inspection operation at the ports.

She affirmed that the Ministry would continue to make every effort to remove non-compliant fishing boats from Ghanaian seas.

The Fisheries Minister did not hesitate to caution that should any of the 19 vessels now fishing in Ghanaian waters engage in any type of IUU fishing, the Ministry will not hesitate to impose severe penalties as outlined in Ghana’s fisheries legislation.

According to her, the fish populations were being depleted and revenues needed was being lost due to IUU fishing.

She said the Ministry would not remain silent while a few self-centered people used IUU fishing to completely destabilise the nation’s fisheries industry.

“We have given them very specific gears that they should use for fishing,” she noted.

The Minister added that the Ghana Maritime Authority will henceforth require all fishing boats to undergo renovations so that they could be used safely.

She said no fishing vessels should have any bycatch at all and that all the 19 vessels currently at sea on Ghanaian waters were complying with the new directive.

The safety of fishermen aboard any vessels fishing in Ghanaian waters, according to Madam Hawa Koomson, is paramount to the Ministry.

She emphasised that any vessel that does not adhere to the safety requirements will not be permitted to fish in Ghanaian seas.

She also pointed out that the Ministry has revoked the industrial fishing vessels’ 15% bycatch allowance in order to stop unlawful trans-shipment at sea.

“We will do an inspection before their departure and when they come, we also go to inspect what they brought,” Madam Hawa Koomson pointed out.

The Fisheries Minister also reaffirmed Ghana’s commitment to cooperating with other coastal nations in the ECOWAS area to combat IUU while addressing at the just concluded 14th session of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) in Accra on Friday, January 13, 2023.

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