Fisheries sector risk collapsing over politicisation, says Aquaculture Specialist

Fisheries experts are calling on politicians to stay off the sector for professionals to effectively manage the industry

Dr Jemimah Kassah, an Aquaculture Specialist, has warned the politicisation of the fisheries sector may collapse the industry in the next few years.

Speaking on Candid Voice on Asaase Radio with Benjamin Offei-Addo, she said politicians must allow experts to manage the sector to save it from collapsing.

“We need our leaders irrespective of the divide, so that when it comes to promises, they make the right promises, to be able to bite the bullet.

“Right now, there is the fear that these guys are swing voters, if you don’t do this, they are not going to vote for us, we are going to lose power or we are not going to get the vote,” Dr. Kassah noted.

Dr Kassah added: “But what we are supposed to know is that if we don’t bite the bullet now and bring in the interventions and enforce the laws and try to restore our fish stock, our whole sector is going to collapse and that is going to have even greater repercussion.”

She noted that over-politicization of the sector has been taking place over the years, irrespective of the political party in power.

“So, what has been happening is not something that is happening in the past year or two, but it is a cycle that keeps repeating itself every four years irrespective of the political party that comes into power.”

Political interventions not impactful

The Aquaculture Expert said the various interventions by parties in the name of politics have not
brought any positive impact to the fisheries sector over the years.

“So, we are talking about the fact that there is over capacity or overcapitalization. We have too many people going in, by every other election year irrespective of party A, B, C or D. We have people going to donate outboard motors to fishermen, to catch fish that are not there,” Dr Kassah stressed.

She added: “The idea is that the fishes are in the water, so we need their votes and we keep doing the same wrong things over and over again, but right now the fishes are no longer there, so some of these interventions in the name of elections are no longer working.”

Other panelists who spoke on the same programme also alluded to the fact that the laws governing the fisheries sector must be urgently reviewed with clear sanctions to help solve the problem.
Ghana’s fisheries sector currently employs directly about 1,400 fishermen and 2.7 million indirect jobs.

Tune in to the Candid Voice with Benjamin Offei-Addo every Sunday for an insightful conversation with various experts on a wide range of topical issues in Ghana. Candid Voice airs at 9pm.

Fred Dzakpata

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online.

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