By Afedzi Abdullah, GNA
Accra, Dec. 10, GNA - Participants at a roundtable to map a pathway towards improved transparency in the management and governance of Ghana’s fisheries have advocated the need for Ghana to sign on to the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FITI).
FITI is a global initiative to support national, regional and global efforts to increase transparency and participation in fisheries governance for the benefit of a more sustainable management of marine fisheries.
According to participants, FITI would provide comprehensive leadership for the country to achieve and maintain high level of transparency, which were key to transforming the fisheries sector.
The roundtable, which was on the theme, “improving transparency and accountability in the governance of Ghana’s fisheries” brought together Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), industry players, policy makers and regulators.
It was organised by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Hen Mpoano, Oxfam, Care International and Friends of the Nation (FoN) with “Far Dwuma Nkodo” and “Far Ban Bo” as the implementing partners of the EU funded project.
The roundtable was organised with the objective of catalysing stakeholder interest in advocating for greater transparency in Ghana’s fisheries sector and to increase their understanding of the benefits of enhanced transparency in the governance of natural resources in the context of economic development.
It was also to assess measures and initiatives implemented in Ghana to improve transparency in the mining and the oil and gas sectors, draw lessons from best practices as entry points for fisheries and identify the extent of transparency challenges in the fisheries sector.
The participants stressed the need to build the capacity of stakeholders for them to appreciate systems and governance issues.
Speaking on “How to apply the principle of transparency and accountability to fisheries management and governance in Ghana”, Mr Kofi Agbogah, the Director of Hen Mpoano, called for urgent reforms in the fisheries sector.
The reforms, he said required transparency, participation and accountability by all stakeholders in the sector, saying “there must be an enabling environment for Ghana as a leading fishing nation in Africa to sign on to FITI”
According to him, FITI would go a long way to address the perennial concerns of fisheries data collection and reporting, vessel ownership and licensing concerns, the Fisheries Development Fund and the pervasive illegal transhipment concerns.
“In the fisheries sector, there is so much opacity, criminality and illegality just because of lack of transparency in the dealings”
“So Transparency in the fisheries is very important. It is another form of getting our managers and regulators to ensure licensing, persecution are done right,” he stated.
Ms Andrea Durghello, a representative from FITI, said lack of transparency undermined the quality and credibility of decision making, increased uncertainty for investment and consumers and marginalised certain fisheries sub-sectors.
The participants deliberated on a number of issues including the gaps in transparency in fisheries in Ghana, mechanisms that could enhance transparency and accountability, priority areas for improving transparency and accountability in the fisheries sector among others.