The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) has intensified processes in the adoption of aquaculture fish production as against the traditional unsustainable marine and inland fishing methods which have recorded significant declines in recent times.
So far, over GH¢15million has been invested into technology adoption, training of extension officers, fingerlings stocking and feed production, as well as ponds construction and disease control among others. The project is expected to increase aquaculture percentage contribution to 20 percent by end of 2024 from 13 percent in 2017.
The main source of fishing in the country is ‘capture fishing’ from marine and inland sources, contributing about 88 percent of total domestic production. However, due to over-exploitation and climate change challenges, marine fishing is reducing drastically in Ghana and beyond; a situation that has necessitated the shift from capture fishing to aquaculture.
Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, addressing the media in an aquaculture workshop stated that with the challenges faced in the marine subsector, aquaculture presents an important alternative to augment domestic fish production, reduce imports and provide additional job opportunities for unemployed youth – particularly in rural communities.
She further indicated that to achieve the feat of transforming the fisheries sector to aquaculture, MoFAD is implementing an aquaculture development programme under four pillars: namely implementation of aquaculture for food and jobs; extension services delivery and capacity enhancement; aquaculture infrastructure development; and fish disease containment and prevention programme.
“The Aquaculture Development Programme (ADP) aims to use policy interventions and active private sector participation as a tool to promote fish farming and marine culture, thereby creating additional job opportunities. The programme will be responsible for promoting the development of aquaculture as an alternative source of domestic fish production through deliberate policy intervention, and is tailored to deliver cost-effective, affordable and quality extension services,” she said.
In addition, she said, under the Aquaculture for Food and Jobs initiative (AFJ), unemployed youth are being mobilised into aquaculture enterprise groups and supported with the necessary aquaculture inputs such as fingerlings, fish feed, ponds, tanks and cages to engage in fish farming.
Also, under the fish disease prevention and containment wing, the MoFAD has vaccinated aquaculture establishments along the Volta Lake enclave with Aqua Irido vaccine in order to contain spread of the fish disease virus that killed almost 18,000mt of fish in 2019, and safeguard the investment of private investors.
According to the ministry, it has piloted AFJ at some selected institutions: namely the James Camp Prison, Pentecost Youth Association at Adansi, Wenchi Youth Association and Osei Tutu Senior High School among others – training the youth in farm management, pond construction, fish-feed formulation and hatchery operations.
The media engagement workshop organised by the ministry is aimed at creating awareness for stakeholders and the general public about the aquaculture industry, as well as the programmes, policies and activities being implemented by the ministry toward development of the industry.