The Centre for International Maritime Affairs Ghana (CIMAG) is advocating for the protection and conservation of the country’s water bodies from all form of pollutions such as illegal fishing and mining activities to prevent on-going fish kills.
It also calls for strenuous efforts and commitment from the government to ensure that the country’s fisheries resources are not completely depleted in the next few years since that will leave thousands of people especially the Fisher folks completely impoverished.
Ghana’s per capita consumption of fish according FAO stood at 25kg per annum in 2016 which was even higher than the estimated continental and world averages of 10.5 and 18.9 kg respectively.
Albert Derrick Fiatui, the Executive Director of CIMAG revealed that Ghana reportedly imports about 50% of the fish and other fish products to supplement the local fish production in the country, which according to him is even worrying.
“Fisher folks are already overburdened with high cost of fuel and other fishing equipment, therefore if the water resources are not adequately protected from all kind of illegal activities, it is not only the Fisher folks who will be disadvantaged, but Ghana’s fishing imports bill would also escalate”,he said.
He made this call following reports about the discovery of dead fishes and other aquatic mammals at Osu Castle beach in Accra, and Axim-Beriwa beach in the Nzema East Municipality in the Western Region of Ghana.
He described the report in a statement presented to the B&FT as disturbing and called for caution while investigations are being carried out about the wash ashore of dead fishes and aquatic mammals.
Mr. Fiatui is therefore calling for a transparent group of both State and Civil Society Organisations, including fishermen to establish the cause of the on-going fish kills at the country’s coastal sources.
He also appealed to the government to urgently collaborate with all the relevant stakeholders especially fisherfolks and other dealers in fish products, the relevant local authorities such as Chiefs, assembly members etc, to map out feasible strategies to prevent the consumption and smuggling of dead fish and other aquatic species washed ashore into the nearby communities and markets across the country.
Executive Director of CIMAG, hinted that more public awareness should be created via the media in the affected areas, especially in the local dialects to protect public health.
“This is particularly disturbing because of the quantum of dead fishes and other aquatic mammals which have been reportedly washed ashore. For instance, in the Western Region, it is reported that the whale-like mammals which were washed ashore over the weekend were over 80 in total at the Axim-Beriwa beach. It is important for government to take immediate steps to ensure that the dead fishes do not enter into the market for sale. The Ministry of Fisheries and Aqua Culture Development, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Fisheries Commission together with the respective Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies where these discoveries have been made must work closely with relevant stakeholders in the fishing communities and industry to prevent the consumption of dead fshes.
If urgent and concrete measures are not put in place, unscrupulous people will likely smuggled the dead fishes into the open market and the nearby comunities either for consumption or for sale to unsuspected public. The relevant Authorities such as EPA, FC and MOFA must not only take steps to identity the cause of the fatalities but also ensure that the Ghanaian public is safe from consuming the dead fishes”,he said.