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Ghana Launches Electronic Monitoring System to Check Illegal Fishing Activities

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The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has announced the launch of an Electronic Monitoring System (EMS) on industrial vessels to tackle illegal fishing and conserve Ghana’s fisheries resources. The EMS, which includes video cameras, remote sensors, and a GPS, will be installed on industrial trawlers and tuna vessels licensed to fish in Ghana. The pilot project, which is funded by the USAID under the Ghana Fisheries Recovery Activity, will focus on three industrial trawlers until December 2023, after which it will be rolled out in January 2024.

The EMS will complement measures such as closed fishing seasons, regulation of fishing gear, port inspections, and the observer program aimed at managing Ghana’s fisheries resources. The intervention is in fulfillment of a commitment made by the government at the Our Ocean Conference held in Panama City on March 3, 2023.

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The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mavis Hawa Koomson, said the EMS will provide real-time evidence of activities on board fishing vessels at sea. She added that after the six months pilot phase of the project, the results would be used to scale up to cover all licensed industrial trawlers and tuna vessels operating in Ghana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by December 2025.

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing practices such as transhipment at sea, illegally modified fishing gears, and dumping of fish at sea by industrial trawlers have depleted Ghana’s marine fisheries resources. The implementation of the EMS will enhance transparency, monitoring, and compliance to curb illegal fishing practices.

Stephen Adjokatcher, the President of the Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association, expressed appreciation to the ministry and the USAID sponsors for supporting the deployment of the EMS project aimed at sustainable management of fisheries resources. The installation of the EMS will boost the operations of industrial trawler operators, and they will be able to track the movement of their vessels and the species of fish caught.

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