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Challenges Facing Ghana’s Fisheries Sector Highlighted in New Transparency Assessment Report

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Ghana’s Fisheries sector has been described as lacking transparency in a recent report launched by the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) in collaboration with the Centre for Maritime Law and Security Africa. The report highlights that Ghana’s Fisheries governance setup has not been proactive in providing updated, accurate, and easily accessible information online for public consumption. This lack of transparency has affected the country’s path towards social, environmental, and economic prosperity and sustainability.

To address this issue, the Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Moses Anim, has called for Ghana to join the Fisheries Transparency Initiative as a “Wake Up Call” for the sector. The FiTI is an international multi-stakeholder effort that provides a framework to help coastal countries increase the credibility and quality of national fisheries information towards the sustainability of marine fisheries.

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To become a FiTI-compliant country, Ghana must adhere to the FiTI standard, which prescribes a comprehensive and credible way to achieve and maintain high levels of transparency on the management of the marine fisheries sector and the activities of fishers and fishing companies. It is essential for Ghana’s government to commit to this effort and provide the necessary transparency, starting with publicly accessible online information, as over 69% of Ghanaians access the internet regularly.

The lack of transparency is affecting the country’s ability to manage its marine fisheries efficiently and sustainably. Basic information on Ghana’s fisheries sector, such as laws, permits, fish agreements, stock assessments, financial contributions, catch data, and subsidies, is not being disclosed by the government. Additionally, not all companies are reliably reporting on catch volumes, fishing practices, and payments to governments.

For the most part, the data that is already publicly available is incomplete, outdated, unverified, or not readily accessible. This affects the capacity of governments to manage their marine fisheries sustainably and the ability for effective oversight and accountability. The Executive Director of FiTI, Sven Biermann, has urged the Fisheries Commission and its mother ministry for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to reconcile data and publish on a singular online platform during the dissemination of public information to avoid discrepancies that exist.

Furthermore, Professor Dennis Aheto, Director at the Center for Coastal Management (CCM), has called for more work to be done in the collection of fisheries data. He argues that Ghana has relied heavily on collecting fisheries-dependent data, but more efforts should also be put into collecting fisheries-independent data. This data will help validate the information already collected, leading to better decision-making.

In conclusion, the lack of transparency in Ghana’s Fisheries sector is a significant obstacle to the country’s long-term development. The government must commit to the Fisheries Transparency Initiative and increase the quality and accessibility of national fisheries information towards the sustainability of marine fisheries.

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