In a bid to protect and sustain Ghana’s dwindling fisheries, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has launched a six-month pilot project for the Electronic Monitoring System (EMS) on three industrial trawlers volunteered by the Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association (GITA). The EMS project is funded and technically supported by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and USAID-sponsored Ghana Fisheries Recovery Activity (GERA) at a cost of USD$250,000.
The EMS uses onboard video cameras, GPS, and sensors to track and verify fishing activities automatically, ensuring compliance with available regulations. The collected data and information will help to monitor and control activities of pirates and prevent Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing practices, transshipment at sea between trawlers and artisanal canoes, the use of illegally modified gears, and the dumping of fish at sea.
According to Madam Hawa Koomson, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the EMS will be fully installed on all licensed industrial trawlers and Tuna vessels in Ghana by December 2025. The project will also include the establishment of a monitoring and control centre, training of Fisheries Commission officers in handling and deployment of EMS equipment, and analysis of EMS data.
Mr. Steve Adzokatse, the President of GITA, expressed support for the programme to help fight IUU and sustain the country’s fisheries. However, he called on the Ministry to collaborate and share necessary information to ensure the success of the monitoring programme.
The EMS project is expected to complement existing measures such as the Ministerial Directive on Trawl Gear, the application of VMS and AIS, port inspections, and the Observer programme. It will improve transparency and provide better oversight for Ghana to discharge its flag-state responsibility.
This EMS project is a step in the right direction for Ghana to sustain its fisheries, and we hope that the government will continue to prioritize the conservation of the country’s marine resources.