The European Union (EU) has committed more than two million Euros to the implementation of a four-year sustainable Fisheries Resources Development Programme.
Dubbed “far ban bo” (protecting fishers’ livelihoods), the programme 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.
It started in April this year and would run till 2021.
The aim is to build the capacity of smallholder fishers to improve their livelihoods and to address the challenges of over-fishing and unregulated fishing practices such as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and law compliance.
It also seeks to empower the law enforcement agencies to sensitise the sector.
It would also focus on tenure rights security for landing sites as well as implement grievances and disputes resolution mechanisms among industrial, inshore and artisan or smallholder fishers.
Launching the programme in Cape Coast, on Thursday, Mr Kwadwo Kyei Nyamoah, Programmes Manager of FON, said the project would strengthen the capacity of fishery associations to engage in efficient legal fishing methods to improve their incomes.
He said the “far ban bo” programme would also be implemented simultaneously in 30 other districts in the Central, Western, Greater Accra and Volta regions.
He said FON was determined to work with all stakeholders especially marine and inland fisheries to uplift the sector.
He said through the programme, smallholder women in the fisheries value chain sector in the beneficiary districts would get financial assistance to enable them expand their businesses, improve food security and quality nutrition for their families.
Mr Yamoah indicated that the fishing sector contributed about 4.5 per cent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Produce (GDP) and supported the livelihood of about 10 per cent of Ghana’s population and therefore should not be neglected.
Mr Thomas Yaw Adjei Baffour, Deputy Central Regional Minister advised fishermen to adhere to right fishing practices and eschew all acts that would affect the progress of the sector.
He expressed the commitment of government to invest enormous resources in the fishing sector to enable it contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic transformation agenda.
Mr Baffour urged the security agencies to be firm and deal ruthlessly with persons who flouted the fisheries law without fear or favour.