The haphazard development of beachfronts into resorts, pubs and entertainment joints is a threat to the future of fishing in Ghana, Mr Christopher Ackon, Programmes Officer of the Infrastructure and Sustainable Development (ISD) Section of the European Union (EU), has said.
“The many beach resorts along our beaches is making the beach smaller and smaller for our fishermen. It’s important that we protect our livelihoods and our livelihoods includes where we do our activities which is the landing beaches. If we are not able to do that, then a time will come and we will not have beaches for fishing”.
Mr Ackon said this when a delegation from the EU paid a verification visit to some project sites of the “Far Ban Bo” project at Anomabo in the Mfantseman Municipality of the Central Region on Thursday.
Already, he said, the fisheries sector is bedevilled with the challenges of over-fishing as well as Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing practices and such practices would only compromise on efforts being made to address existing challenges.
Subsequently, he said there is the need for government and all stakeholders to focus attention on tenure rights security for landing sites and institute grievances and disputes resolution mechanisms among industrial, inshore and artisan fishers.
The “Far Ban Bo” project is a four-year sustainable Fisheries Resources Development Programme funded by the EU and it is being implemented by a consortium of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) including Care International, Friends of the Nation (FON) and Oxfam in collaboration with the Fisheries Commission, Fishers Association and Fisheries Alliance.
The project seeks to among others build the capacity of smallholder fishers to improve their livelihoods and to address the challenges of over-fishing and IUU fishing and law compliance.
Mr Ackon said the “Far Ban Bo” project was designed with the interest of managing the fisheries resources for prosperity and called on the project communities to support and ensure that the project achieved it objective.
“It is important that as fishermen and beneficiaries of this project, you recognise that your livelihoods depend on the sea so collaborate with the team and all stakeholders to aid success,” he said.
He called on the fishermen to desist from IUU fishing practices as they contributed immensely to the depletion of the sea and encouraged them to adopt efficient legal fishing methods to improve their fishing outcomes.
Mr Roberto Schiliro, Team Leader of the ISD, EU delegation to Ghana, implored the project communities to stay together in the fight against IUU adding that “we must strive to leave the sea better for the future”.
He said overcoming the challenges confronting fishing in the country would require strong commitment from the fishermen themselves and their communities to map up strategies to end IUU.
Mr Schiliro said the EU would continue to support projects towards the protection and restoration of marine ecosystems, achieve healthy and productive oceans and sustainable management of ocean resources and sustainable fisheries.
Mr Kelly Nelly Essuman, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Mfantseman Municipal Assembly, enumerated some plans of the Assembly to support and protect fisheries resources and expressed the readiness of the Assembly to collaborate with NGO’s and other stakeholders.
He said the Assembly would closely monitor and prevent development on the beach fronts.
“We will not allow anybody to sell parts of the beach, set up video centre, and establish beach resorts or entertainment joints at the beach anyhow. We will do our best but I will appeal to the chiefs and people here to support this cause” he said.