Tema, Jan. 31, GNA — The Fishery Commission, an implementing agency of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, has conducted a simulation exercise on Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing activities in the country’s territorial waters.
The exercise, performed in a commercial vessel, was to highlight the impact of illegal activities in the fishing sector and collectively find solutions.
As part of the IUU compliance simulation exercise conducted over the weekend, a Fishery team in collaboration with the Ghana Navy checked the Fishing License, Captain’s Certificate, Chief Engineer’s Certificate, Crew List, Life Jackets, Fishing Nets, and other requisite documents.
It was identified that the vessel was fishing within the Inshore Exclusive Zone, engaging in pair-trawling, and using an unprescribed net, among others.
Mr. Richard Klutse, Fishery Manager at the Ministry of Fisheries, said the exercise was to inject sanity into the maritime space as well as ensure that all industry players adhered to the laws governing the sector.
He said illegalities in the sector had undermined the contribution of the maritime sector to national development hence the need to regularly conduct checks to put other stakeholders on their toes.
Mr. Klutse told the fishing crew that they had violated the Fishery Act 2002 (625) by fishing in the Inshore Exclusive Zone and using illegal fishing nets.
He said it was against the law to use a monofilament fishing net in marine waters by industrial vessels saying that the Ministry would not relent on dealing with illegalities in the sector.
He cautioned the vessel owner and crew against flouting the country’s laws and encouraged them to adhere to the laws for the smooth running of the sector and prevent any uncomfortable situations.
Lieutenant Commander Priscilla Dzokoto of the Ghana Navy said after an Intelligence, a thorough investigation was conducted to ascertain the authenticity of the information and they proceeded to do their checks.
She said Ghana Navy collaborated with the Fishery Enforcement Unit of the Ghana Police Service and the Maritime Authority.
She said all vessels engaging in illegal activities were arrested and taken to the harbour for further investigations.