The Canoe and Fishing Gear Owners Association of Ghana (CaFGOAG) is urging the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) and the Fisheries Commission (FC) to abandon the idea of increasing industrial trawl fleet in the country.

The Association is also calling for the urgent stop of the destructive activities of industrial fishing vessels, harvesting of juvenile and small pelagic fishes and dumping of fish.

In a statement copied to ghenvironment.org in Accra to observe World Fisheries Day on Sunday, CaFGOAG noted that, such practices remain huge barriers to behavioural changes required of artisanal fishers.

Small Scale Fisheries provides food and livelihoods for millions of people globally. In Ghana, it remains the major source of livelihoods in fishing communities, providing food, proteins, and other essential nutritional requirements for the Ghanaian population. It also remains not just an economic activity for the fishers, but the way of life in fishing communities along the coastal belt of Ghana.

According to the statement by CaFGOAG, to lose small scale fisheries, is to lose identity of artisanal fishers and fish processers.

“It's therefore important for artisanal fishers not to only lament about the sorry state of fisheries, but beyond the lamentations, lead in addressing the ills in the sector to protect small scale fisheries for global food security and poverty eradication”, it said.

“As we mark this year's World Fisheries Day and prepare for IYAFA 2022, CaFGOAG calls on all fisheries stakeholders to stand up for small scale fisheries, and help restore the health of the ocean. This can be done once we put a stop to IUU fishing practices”, the statement added.

CaFGOAG assured that, it would continue to make legitimate demands for adequate economic support for fishers and fish processers in order not to unjustifiably worsen living standards in fishing communities, in its advocacy towards ending IUU in artisanal fisheries.

“We call on artisanal fishers to be ready for change, as we begin series of engagements aimed at lasting behavioral changes among fishers, as the surest way to end IUU in artisanal fisheries. We also appeal to MoFAD/FC, Civil Society Organizations/Non-Governmental Organization, and Development Partners to consider some economic support such as paid community services for targeted small-scale fishers and fish processers to avoid the likelihood of relapse, as we work towards lasting behavioural changes”, the statement said.

With such support, CaFGOAG was optimistic that it would get the fullest cooperation of artisanal fishers in the implementation of the 2022-2026 Marine Fisheries Management Plan, and the National Plan of Action to combat IUU fishing.