Ghana has agreed to collaborate with three other ECOWAS nations to launch a collaborative fisheries observer and monitoring program in 2022.
Togo, Benin, and Cote d’Ivoire are the three countries. Cote d’Ivoire, on the other hand, did not join the treaty at the same time that Ghana, Togo, and Benin did.
The joint observer program aims to put an end to illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the ECOWAS coastal regions, known as the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC).
On Friday, December 17, 2021, at the 13th Session of the Conference of Ministers of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, the accord was signed.
The FCWC was founded in 2007 to promote and ease fisheries management collaboration among its member countries—Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Liberia, Benin, and Cote d’Ivoire.
The FCWC was established to improve governance capacity via sub-regional and regional cooperation, notably in the development and implementation of suitable management frameworks that enable sustainable harvesting of fisheries resources.
Mr. Seraphin Dedi Nadje, the Secretary-General of the FCWC, said that a unified observer program will assist the FCWC area fight IUU fishing more effectively and efficiently.
IUU fishing, he added, was continuing to stymie the development of sustainable marine fisheries in West Africa, causing environmental harm, significant economic losses, and rising levels of maritime insecurity.
He said that the FCWC area loses a significant amount of money each year as a result of IUU fishing operations, a situation he believes might be addressed if all FCWC member nations cooperated together.
Alhaji M. Jallow, a Senior Fisheries Officer at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said partnerships and cooperation were critical to preserving the FCWC region’s fisheries industry.
Adopting a regional approach to combating IUU fishing was the way to go for him, noting that what one country did affect the other, necessitating the adoption of Blue Growth strategies by all countries bordering the Gulf of Guinea, which is a long-term strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors.
Mr. Eric Kwesi Armo-Himbson, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, spoke on behalf of Ghana’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Minister, Mavis Hawa Koomson, at the event, calling for more efforts to combat IUU fishing, noting that when the joint observer program is implemented, it will help to end or minimize IUU fishing in the region.