“Very frequently, after they go to sea, they do no longer trap something,” Mercy Allotey, a fish supplier, “Our fishing is spoiled.”
Overfishing has devastated the seabed in Ghana’s sea territory. The United Nations estimates that 2 million human beings, or 10% of the total populace of this small u. S. In West Africa, depend upon this crucial region.
Mercy Allotey, a fish commercial enterprise on the Accra waterfront is at risk. The variety of fish caught off Ghana has decreased by nearly half in fifteen years, from 420,000 tonnes in 1999 to 202,000 tonnes in 2014.
Bad fishing practices?
Responsibilities are shared among manufacturing facility boats, regularly operated by means of Chinese corporations that scour the seabed, and devastating environmental practices of tens of lots of small-scale fishers looking to offset losses.
In an exercise recognized locally as “ Saiko “, which was once a way of recovering “leftovers” from big fishing vessels, trawlers have evolved an incredibly rewarding change.
They collect en masse fish generally targeted with the aid of local fishermen – such as sardines and mackerel – and sell them to groups on the shores via intermediaries.
In a file released in June, the Ghanaian NGO Hen Mpoano and the Environmental Justice Foundation estimate that round one hundred,000 lots of fish were sold in 2017, notably lowering employment possibilities for Ghanaians.
This practice could price us of an’s financial system about $ 50 million a yr.
Ghana is suffering to better reveal the “ saiko” , but additionally to combat the strategies of neighborhood fishermen, which includes illuminating the waters in the course of the night time to attract fish and poison them with chemicals, or kill them with dynamite.
Protecting the seabed
The government banned artisanal fishing in May and June and could ban trawlers alongside its coasts in August and September, which will rebuild the stocks.
But anyone inside the enterprise has the same opinion that more desires to be accomplished to remedy the state of affairs.
“The biggest task we have is that everybody, down to the smallest conventional fisherman, is aware and applies the laws exceeded by using the executive”, explains Emmanuel Kwafo, head of law enforcement on fishing within u . S. The Ghanaian military.
At the give up of July, Kwafo participated in a chief maritime convention in Accra, which introduced collectively senior West African naval officers to discuss troubles inclusive of unlawful fishing.
According to him, we need to exchange attitudes in West Africa, where unlawful fishing is still perceived because the most effective manner to make ends meet.
“While if we act well and recognize the laws, we grow our possibilities of survival” within the long term, he explained.
Amal-Deen Ali, director of the Accra-based totally Center for Maritime Law and Safety in Africa, says the fisheries zone is “immediately connected to Ghana’s food security, countrywide security, and survival as a livelihood. Fish generates approximately 60% of the protein consumed by means of Ghanaians.
For him, the priority is to awareness at the scourge of Saiko however additionally to implement the prevailing legal guidelines on overfishing, local politicians generally tend to show a blind eye to these practices to fulfill their network.
Nii Quaye is a former fisherman. He is now running like a fish research spokesperson for Jamestown District in Accra.
It conducts inspections and checks particularly that the catches were no longer made with chemical substances or dynamite explosion, practices now sanctioned by using heavy penalties under a brand new regulation that has no longer but entered into force.
“If we send five people to prison for three or six months due to the fact they used chemicals, the news will spread and I suppose everything will forestall quickly,” he said.
“If nothing is executed, in a few years, there may be extra fish,” he worries. “And all the people in Jamestown could be hungry.”