Ghana's Fish Resource Must Be Sustained

Naval Captain Emmanuel Ayesu Kwafo, Director of Naval Training at the Ghana Navy, on Wednesday appealed to government to ensure sustainable fishing "in our waters." Naval Capt. Kwafo said when fishermen became desperate; they could turn to piracy activities, which would be detrimental to the country’s economy and security. He made the appeal in a lecture at Tema during the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transports’ (CILT) Continued Development Programme. The programme was on the theme “Protecting our coast – Piracy and its influence on Ghana’s Maritime Trade, National Security and Emerging Oil Industry”. He said even though Ghana’s territorial waters were currently safe from pirate activities, measures, such as managing the country’s fishing resource among other plans must be taken very serious. Naval Capt. Kwafo added that the Ghana Navy, in collaboration with the Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministry, had established a Fishing Enforcement Unit, to help with the sustenance of the fish stock in the country. He said evidence from Somalia showed that most of the Somali pirates were fishermen. Naval Capt. Kwafo further stated that Ghanaian fishermen were very active; therefore it would be dangerous to render them jobless. The Navy, he said, was equipped for rapid response, by virtue of its fast attack crafts, and anchorage patrols. Naval Capt. Kwafo said the Navy also collaborates with other security agencies to share information, as part of measures to deter pirates from operating in Ghanaian waters. He said despite the Ghana Navy’s logistics, such as four snake class ships, two warrior ships, six defender class boats among others, the Navy still needed more sophisticated logistics to help with the effective discharge of their duties. Captain Papa Asoako-Wiredu, Deputy Director and Tema Branch Manager of the Ghana Maritime Authority, said even though no piracy activities were being reported by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in Ghanaian waters, effective security measures must be maintained to deter such activities. Capt Asoako-Wiredu added that, there was the need for the government to raise the country’s budget for security, which would then trickle down to the combating of illegal activities at sea. He said since no country could effectively fight piracy alone, there was the need for inter-linkages and cooperation among countries along the Gulf of Guinea. Capt. Asoako-Wiredu said the need to deter pirates could not be overemphasized, as their activities caused low revenue, rendered ports unworkable, created unsafe environment for investors and provided grounds for terrorists’ activities. Mrs Lydia Tham, Marketing and Public Relations Officer of the Tema Port, said the IMB 2012 report showed, that the Gulf of Guinea was a hotspot for piracy activities. Mrs Tham added that the report showed an increase in pirate activities in the region with Nigeria recording 27 attacks. She said activities of the pirates included damage to ships, kidnapping and ransom demand. Captain Charles Assifuah, a pilot with the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), said the IMB, between January and July this year, had recorded 176 pirate attacks with 10 hijacking incidents in the Gulf of Guinea. Capt Assifuah further said Somalia recorded 10 incidents with two hijackings, while Nigeria had 28 incidents with two hijackings. Mr Kumi Adjei-Sam, Tema Branch Chairperson of CILT, said his outfit organized Continuous Development Programs twice a year, to educate and update its members’ knowledge on maritime and transport issues.