Editorial : Good news from the fishing sector

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For the first time in three years, the countries fishing sector has shown signs of a promising future as figures from the Ghana Statistical Service indicate it has finally recorded growth after a period of contraction.

The fishing sector has been in abysmal form since 2017, when growth contracted to 1.4 percent and further declined to -6.8 percent in 2018. However, at the end of 2019 the sector was able to record 1.7 percent growth, making it the first time since 2016 that it grew – by 3.1 percent.

The 2019 rebound indicates that when proper measures are put in place to address the fishing sector’s challenges, it will be possible to recapture the glory years when it was contributing significantly to the economy. Currently, fishing’s contribution to total GDP is one of the smallest among all sectors in the country, only second to water and sewage. The industry contributed a pittance of 0.9 percent to GDP in 2019, whereas water and sewage were 0.4 percent.

In fact, even judging from 2013 – the rebase year – the fishing sector has not recorded a contribution of more than 1.6 percent to GDP. And since 2016, its contribution to GDP has been below 1.4 percent. It has cemented its position as the sector in agriculture which contributes the lowest to GDP, at least for the past seven years.

Professor Emeritus Kobina Yankson, Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at the University of Cape Coast, says if government puts appropriate measures in place to successfully stamp out Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing – especially, saiko, the industry can regain its fame and create jobs for the youth.

It is important that the regulatory agencies should not go to sleep but do everything within their power to ensure the sector contributes its quota to development of the economy.

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