Illegal fishing could see Ghana’s catch banned from EU markets

The European Commission (EC) has warned that any incident of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by a Ghana-flagged vessel will result in a total ban on fish products exported from Ghana to EU markets.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) has threatened to sanction any local vessel found to be engaged in IUU fishing.

Addressing stakeholders in the fisheries sector at a press conference in Accra yesterday, sector minister, Mr Nayon Bilijo, said the EC issued the warning in May this year.

Mr Bilijo said that Ghana and the EC had been discussing a range of corrective actions that Ghana needed to take to meet its obligations as a trading partner.

“These corrective actions are: enhancing the fisheries legislative framework, the adoption of a national plan of action against IUU fishing, the adoption of a fisheries management plan and strengthening of our monitoring, control and surveillance systems”.

Measures to address IUU fishing

Mr Bilijo outlined some of the measures MoFAD had put in place to address IUU fishing along Ghana’s shores. These include:

  • strengthening fisheries legislation with adoption of new regulations by the end of 2014
  • imposing severe sanctions on IUU fishers and repeat offenders
  • introducing new control measures on Ghana-flagged vessels that intend to fish in neighbouring countries
  • requiring all semi-industrial and industrial Ghanaian-owned fishing vessels, including trawlers, to use satellite vessel monitoring systems

According to the Minister, MoFAD had also adopted a national plan of action to combat IUU fishing and added that Ghana now had the arsenal to deal squarely with any IUU incidents.

Credit: Daily Graphic