he Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP), a USAID-funded food security initiative, has awarded prizes to two fish processors during the 2015 National Farmers’ Day celebration held in Bolgatanga in Upper East Region. SFMP partner organisation – Development Action Association (DAA) – responsible for this activity, presented fish processing equipment worth GHS600.00 to the women who exhibited outstanding leadership in advocacy for responsible fishing and safe post-harvest fish handling practices.
The awards category was offered to the two women in collaboration with the two district assemblies to encourage other resource users, particularly in fisheries to adopt sustainable fisheries practices. This year’s farmer’s day celebration, marked under the theme, “Transform Ghana: Invest in Agriculture”, and replicated in all districts throughout the country.
DAA participated in the two district level celebrations in Apam – Gomoa West District and Winneba – Effutu Municipality, to draw attention to the fisheries sector and the critical role it plays in contributing food protein to Ghanaians. Ghana’s per capita apparent fish consumption is among the highest in the world at an average of 28 kg per person per annum.
The world’s per capita apparent fish consumption increased from an average of 9.9 kg in the 1960s to 19.2 kg per person per annum in 2014. Thus, the role of the sector is far reaching and needs to receive more attention for improved management of a marine sector which is near collapse due to management issues such as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, weak governance, overcapacity and over fishing.
USAID/Ghana SFMP is working closely with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and Fisheries Commission (MOFAD/FC) to ensure that tens of thousands of metric tons of fish which have been lost over the last two decades are recouped to reduce poverty and hunger as well as sustain the livelihoods of about 170,000 fishers including women fish processors and about 2.2 million indirect jobs. SFMP is working with relevant fisheries stakeholders and supporting MOFAD/FC to implement management measures such as a closed season as contained in a recently approved National Marine Fisheries Management Plan.
The goal of SFMP is to rebuild targeted marine fisheries stocks through the adoption of sustainable practices and exploitation levels. DAA is a network of farmer and fisher groups which aims to promote sustainable agriculture and food security, while empowering and building resilience of rural women. This is achieved through various investments in the form of training in improved technology, advocacy and business skills.