The National Focal Point of the Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa Project, (MESA) in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Kadiatu Seaport Kamara has reiterated her ministry’s unwavering commitment to put in place measures that would protect fishing grounds and ensure safety of the lives and gears of fishermen at sea. Speaking during the erection of a Bill Board, indicating early warning signs, conditions of the weather and information about how positively fishermen can respond to them before going to sea at the Goderich, Tombo Fish Landing sites on Thursday, 20th July, 2017, Madam Kamara said the project which is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Ministry of Fisheries uses Earth Observation Equipment to provide decision makers and other stakeholders information on potential fishing zones, traffic of fishing vessels and ocean weather to enable them make informed decision for management and safety purposes.
With headquarters in Ghana, she said, the project which is jointly implemented by various sectors including the ministries of fisheries, Agriculture, Metrological Department and the Institute of Marine Biology and Oceanography has various components including the installation of a Satellite and Computers at the ministry of fisheries, training of staff on the use of the equipment and gathering and use of SMS relating to safety and conditions of the weather through mobile phones. She underscored the negative impact of bad weather on the fisheries industry and admonished fishermen to take early warning signals and information seriously to avoid unnecessary accidents and loss of lives at sea.
The MESA Focal Point also took the opportunity to remind the fisher folks of the negative effects of illegal fishing on the socio-economic development of the country and entreated them to renounce the practice. The Fisheries Officer in Charge of Tombo, Josephine Roberts said the ceremony was a continuation of events aimed at sensitizing fishing communities about the importance of the project and called for the cooperation of the beneficiaries.
The Harbour Master, Tombo Wharf, Samuel Bangura while thanking the ministry and partners for the initiative, expressed dissatisfaction over “the rate at which Semi Industrial Fishing are scooping away fish that are left for them at the Inshore Exclusive Zone (IEZ)” and called on the authorities to take necessary actions that would address the situation. Highlights of the programme included distribution of flyers and the erection of a Sign Post at an appropriate location at the wharf for the attention fishers and general public. Plans are afoot to replicate the event in other Fishing communities in the country.