10 CSOs petition the Minister of Fisheries regarding the potential authorization of 2 industrial trawlers
Civil society organisations, trade unions and associations working to ensure safe, sustainable and fair fisheries in Ghana have written to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development seeking clarification on the possible licensing of two trawlers industries in Ghanaian waters.
This decision follows the circulation of a letter allegedly detailing a request from DUMA FARMS AND FISHERIES LTD. that the vessels SHUN FENG 906 and SHUN FENG 907 have obtained licenses pending approval from the Minister of Fisheries and the Maritime Authority of Ghana.
The organizations say they are gravely concerned about the prospect of additional capacity being added to the trawling sector, given that the populations of several vital species in Ghana’s waters are already on the verge of collapsing.
These include small pelagics such as sardinella and Spanish mackerel, which are the lifeblood of coastal communities across the country – providing food security and vital livelihoods to millions of people across the country.
They claim that the worsening ecological and humanitarian crises on the Ghanaian coastline are inextricably linked to the presence of poorly regulated foreign industrial trawlers, which have often been recorded catching non-target species, invading reserved for canoes and to use illegal gear to reduce the selectivity of catches.
The CSO letter indicates that the granting of two additional licenses would be in direct contradiction to the approved draft Marine Fisheries Management Plan 2022-2026 (MFMP), in which a three-year moratorium on new entrants to the sector trawling was proposed in recognition of the overfishing crisis that currently characterizes the fishery.
They argue that as a group of stakeholders, many of whom have been tirelessly engaged in the process of developing this plan, they wish to make it clear that a violation of the proposed moratorium would be a significant blow to the trust that is so essential in the design and implementation of effective fisheries governance.
Furthermore, they imply that to their knowledge, due to documentation issues, both vessels have been temporarily denied access to the port of Tema.
“We urge the Minister, if she has not already done so, to undertake a thorough due diligence process – including on issues of ownership, reporting behavior and prior license acquisitions. We are confident that the nationality of the beneficial owners may be outside Ghana, which would constitute a violation of Section 47(1) of the Ghana Fisheries Act 2002. For the avoidance of doubt, Section 47(1) states that:
“a local industrial or semi-industrial fishing vessel is a fishing vessel
(a) Owned or controlled by a citizen, the government, or owned or controlled by a corporation or partnership registered by law in the Republic which has its principal place of business in the Republic and whose share is wholly owned by the government, a citizen, a public corporation established by law in the Republic, or a combination of any of them”.
They implored the Minister and her colleagues to uphold the commitments made in the FMMP to prevent further exploitation of Ghana’s precious natural resources, showing their resolve in the fight to protect marine ecosystems and the coastal communities that depend on them. so strongly.
Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) CEO Steve Trent; Fisheries Program Manager, CERATH Development Organization, Derek Adabie; Executive Director, Friends of the Nation (FoN), Donkris Mevuta; Center Director, DAA Fisheries Training Center, Emelia Edwina Nortey; Isaac Impraim, General Secretary of the National Union of Seafarers, Ports and Allied Workers (NUSPAW), and Jonathan Gokah, National Coordinator of KASA Initiative Ghana.
The others are the Executive Director, Hen Mpoano (HM), Kofi Agbogah; Executive Director, Development Action Association (DAA), Lydia Sasu; Nana Kweigyah, National Chairperson, Canoe and Fishing Gear Owners Association of Ghana (CaFGOAG), and Nicholas Smith, Project Manager, CEWEFIA.