The Fisheries Alliance, a civil society organisation, has urged fishers to take actions to secure the country's fish stock as their livelihoods fully depend on it.
Ghana's fisheries sector is said to support the livelihoods of three million people and contribute 1.3 percent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while generating over US$ 250 million in exports.
In recent times, there has been grave concern from stakeholders about the dwindling fish stock in the country with fishermen reporting very low catches.
Mr. Kyei Kwadwo Yamoah, the Convenor for the Fisheries Alliance, said in an interview as part of the media platform “Blue Gold: Ghana's Economic Transformer,” initiated by the Ghana News Agency to enhance discussion on the blue economy.
Mr Yamoah noted that when fishers did not land fish, they were quick to blame the government and other stakeholders for not managing the fisheries sector well.
He said at each fish landing site during this year's closed season, one would see fishers mending their nets, adding that most of those nets were undersized small mesh nets, which were illegal nets.
“They are preparing them to fish when the fishing season begins, and these nets will also catch the juvenile fish, which is against the fishing laws.”
Mr. Yamoah expressed worry that undersized small mesh nets were widespread at the landing sites, with many fishermen having the full accoutrement for light fishing.
He said some of the fishermen argued that they were engaged in illegal fishing because the laws were not being enforced.
He urged the leadership of the fishermen to help change the narrative by educating their members and ensuring that they abide by the fishing laws.
He acknowledged, however, that the widespread use of illegal gear at the landing sites was not because fishers were recalcitrant, but rather the enforcement of the fisheries laws was weak.
The Fisheries Alliance Convenor said the sector was confronted with a situation where illegalities had been allowed to thrive, emphasising that it would require a shared responsibility between managers enforcing the law and fishermen to comply with the provisions.
He urged fisher associations to sensitize the fishermen on the minimum landing size and the minimum mesh sizes, which have all been provided in the regulations and serve as a guide on what constitutes juvenile fish, stressing that it was illegal to land fish below the minimum length.