The Ministry of Fisheries has launched the translated versions of the Fisheries Regulations, 2010 (L.I 1968) in five Ghanaian languages in Accra. The languages are Dangme, Ewe, Ga, Mfantse and Nzema.
The launching ceremony was performed by the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Hon. Nayon Bilijo who said, Ghana was endowed with vast and diverse fisheries resources. He noted that it had several rivers which emptied into the Gulf of Guinea and about 538km of coastline.
The Minister said, “Marine resources as we know are an important source of food and economic activity. Nationality, the annual per capita consumption of fish is approximately 22kg and about 10% of the populations directly or indirectly earn their livelihoods from the fisheries sector. However, average catch by boat or vessel has plummeted over the years and the profitability is currently zero or negative in most capture fisheries”.
Hon. Bilijo was concerned that the once vibrant industry supporting the livelihoods of many fishing families seemed to be a pale shadow of itself. He noted that, the nation’s fisheries were in a dire situation and required prompt and decisive action. He added that one of the main responses to that situation was to control fishing effort through the effective enforcement of the nation’s fisheries laws.
He said the initial step to stem the problem was the promulgation of Act 625 in 2002 followed by the Fisheries Regulations L.I. 1968 in 2010, which made the fisheries laws more implementable.
The Minister stressed that since the promulgation of the L.I. 1968, there had been incessant calls internationally and locally on the government and the various enforcement agencies to implement the law. He admitted that the calls were legitimate as though the law prohibited the use of small net meshes, toxins, explosives, light and pair-trawling as a means of fishing, yet players in the industry were doing the opposite. Such negative attitudes, the minister explained was contributing to the fast decline and destruction of the country’s fishing industry.
The Minister further said, there had been a certain shortcoming with regard to all the fisheries related laws including the current one, Act 625 and L.I. 1968, and that was, the inability of people to access the Act especially, those who might not be well versed in the official English language. He added that those concerns which had been raised several times by stakeholders in the industry were taken seriously by the Ministry and the Fisheries Commission.
“We, however, recognise that we cannot succeed in enforcing the laws and regulations without the co-operation of our fishermen and fishmongers who toil daily to capture and process fish for our consumption. Hence, the opportunity we have today to launch the translations of the L.I. 1968 in five languages spoken in the fisheries communities in the coastal areas. The languages are Dangme, Ewe, Ga, Mfantse and Nzema,” he said.
He was hopeful that, “by communicating these regulations to our fisher-folks in the local language, we will secure their understanding, co-operation and compliance, so as to salvage the nation’s fisheries resources and revive fishery livelihoods for national prosperity and development”.
Source: ISD (Edith Emefa Akakpo & Solomon Tetteh)