Accra, GHANA– The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Fisheries Commission with support from the United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), organized a three-day conference, from August 19-21, 2019, in Accra to highlight and discuss successes, lessons learned, opportunities, and challenges in the fisheries sector in Ghana.
The conference, entitled “Fisheries and Coastal Management in Contemporary Times,” was designed to strengthen policy linkages and create a platform for fostering discussion among policymakers, resource managers, fishermen and fishmongers, researchers, journalists, and think tanks in connection with the sustainability and productivity of the fisheries sector in Ghana.
Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye; Executive Director of Fisheries Commission, Mr. Michael Arthur Dadzie, and USAID/Ghana’s Acting Deputy Mission Director, Janean Davis delivered remarks at the event commending the Ministry for taking steps to improve fisheries in Ghana
Ms. Janean Davis, noted that “Together, we can help put in place the necessary structures and processes to consolidate the gains we’ve made in the fisheries sector over the past five years.”
The conference presented an opportunity to share and exchange information and discuss new scientific findings related to fisheries and coastal management. Major issues and topics discussed related to the closed season, oil and gas development, trans-shipment, sanitation, ocean governance, the blue economy, livelihoods, child labor and human trafficking as well as social resilience in coastal areas.
Closing Remarks at the National Fisheries Conference
Janean Davis, Acting Deputy Mission Director USAID-Ghana
As Prepared for Delivery
Wednesday August 21, 2019
9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Mensvic Hotel, East Legon, Accra
Senior Minister – Yaw Osafo-Maafo
Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development – Hon. Francis K.A. Codjoe;
Vice Provost for International Initiatives and Academic Partnerships, University of Rhode Island – Dr. Gifty Ako-Adounvo;
Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Coast Prof. Joseph Ghartey Ampiah;
Director, Ghana Fisheries Commission – Mr. Michael Arthur-Dadzie;
Chief Director, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development – Mr. Frank Sofo;
Members of the Press;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a great honor and privilege to represent the United States Government at this important conference to highlight the achievements and lessons learned from our support to the fisheries sector. As we know, some ten percent of the country’s population derives their livelihoods from the sector, and fish account for some 60 percent of the average Ghanaian’s protein intake. Gatherings such as this National Fisheries Conference create the space for reflection on how all of us can cooperate to sustain the fishing sector for future generations to reap the rewards of a highly functioning industry. The presence of the Hon. Senior Minister today shows the importance the highest levels of the Ghanaian government places on this vital sector.
The United States Government wants Ghana to succeed in these efforts. We see the progress made in the fisheries sector, as a continuing great example of Ghana’s progress along her journey to self-reliance. I want to express my profound gratitude to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, the Fisheries Commission, and the Ghanaian people for their partnership and collaboration in achieving successes in the sector, including implementing a closed season this year.
Other notable successes include the greater use of scientific data to make informed decisions, strengthened stakeholder engagement, an improved policy environment, and an increased role for community members in making management decisions.
The last of these has proven transformational in allowing citizens to assume a greater role in partnering with the government to devise and implement mutually agreed-upon solutions. Greater community involvement is key to ensuring that people buy into national plans and can influence their own development paths.
Ghana needs the support of all of its stakeholders, from the government and universities to the private sector and citizens themselves, to progress along that path. The U.S. Government’s “Journey to Self-Reliance” initiative for countries to plan, resource, and manage their own national development entails a similar approach. Together, we can help put in place the necessary structures and processes to consolidate the gains we’ve made in the fisheries sector over the past five years.
One continuing challenge that will require sustained political will and stakeholder engagement is the need to implement the closed fishing seasons on an annual basis – absent this commitment, the sacrifices and gains of the closed seasons are all for naught. We recognize the sacrifices made by community members who must find another way to make a living during closed seasons in order to provide for their families and we must continue work. Together we must create disincentives and enforce against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing operations including saiko fishing, all of which threaten to drive the fisheries sector into collapse.
The U.S. Government will continue to collaborate and provide technical assistance to revamp and reinvigorate the fisheries sector and put Ghana’s fisheries on the path of sustainability and profitability. Thanks to all of you for your participation in this week’s conference. Together, we can make a difference for millions of Ghanaians.
USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. USAID’s activities and strategic partnerships promote Ghana’s journey to self-reliance and a “Ghana Beyond Aid.” Our work will advance an integrated approach to development by promoting accountability, sustainable systems, and inclusive development. www.feedthefuture.gov.