The leadership of the National Fisheries Association of Ghana (NAFAG), has suggested to the government to consider the establishment of a “Blue Economy Authority” in Ghana to act as the regulator of all entities carrying out economic activities in the country’s water bodies.
The group proposed the establishment of the authority today Monday 17 April 2023, when they paid a courtesy call to President Akufo-Addo at his office in the Jubilee House.
According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem.”
The European Commission on the other hand defines the blue economy as all economic activities related to oceans, seas and coasts.
In his presentation, the leader of the delegation, Mr Richster Nii Armah Amarfio, acting secretary of NFAG, observed that their industry is currently regulated by multiple ministries and agencies even though their mother ministry is the fisheries ministry.
According to Mr Armah Amarfio, “the vessels [used for fishing in Ghana] are the responsibility of the ministry of transport and the Ghana Maritime Authority and the ministry [fisheries ministry] is responsible for their licensing but all the processes leading to the issuance of licenses are regulated by different agencies”.
“I will suggest that we probably look at a “blue economy authority” because the “blue economy” is becoming an emerging issue and those of us in the fishing industry are getting worried, especially with the in-flacks of oil and gas activities.
“We fear that if e do not manage the blue economy as a common entity, we are likely to have a situation of conflict over space and usage,” Mr Armah Amarfio remarked.
President Akufo-Addo on his part, welcomed the suggestion and enquired whether or not the association has articulated their suggestion to the fisheries ministry. Armah Amarfio answered no to the enquiry. President Akufo-Addo this end asked the association to kick-start the process.
“It is an important discussion and I think we should get on with it because at the end of the day if your suggestion is the one that makes sense, the ministry will be the one that will have the ultimate responsibility.
“Engage the Ministry of Fisheries now and put the plans that you think make sense before them and let’s develop the discussion” President Akufo-Addo suggested to the association.
The President in his remarks further suggested to the association that when the matter of importance comes up concerning the fishing sector in the country, he is of the candid view that the association must endeavour to make the fisheries ministry the first port of call.
He indicated that the minister for fisheries, Hawa Koomson, will certainly escalate their issues and concerns to the authorities above her [such as the presidency and cabinet] once such issues are brought to her attention.
Nonetheless, the President assured the delegation that the issues that they have brought before him such as the boat yard, and marine fuel subsidies, among others will be given the necessary attention it deserves.
The NAFAG is the umbrella entity for the Ghana Tuna Association (GTA), Ghana Inshore Trawlers Association (GITA), Ghana Inshore Fishermen Association (GIFA), Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC) and the National Inland Canoe Fishermen Council (NICFC).