Ghana’s Fishing Industry Faces Potential EU Ban Due to Illegal Practices

Ghana's fishing industry may face an EU ban due to ongoing illegal practices. Explore the potential impact and steps needed to avoid this critical situation.

Ghana’s fishing industry may face an EU ban due to ongoing illegal practices. Explore the potential impact and steps needed to avoid this critical situation.

Ghana's fishing industry may face an EU ban due to ongoing illegal practices. Explore the potential impact and steps needed to avoid this critical situation.

Dr. Angela Lamptey, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Marine and Fisheries Science at the University of Ghana, has issued a grave warning that Ghana may soon face a ban on exporting fish and fish products to the European Union (EU) if illegal fishing methods continue.

She revealed that the situation is increasingly alarming as Ghana has already received a yellow card from the EU.

This yellow card signifies that the country is engaging in harmful fishing practices that endanger consumers and the environment. Additionally, Ghana has been criticized for lacking effective monitoring systems and legal frameworks to regulate the fishing industry.

Dr. Lamptey expressed her concerns, stating, “We fear that other countries may follow suit if the EU proceeds with the ban on our fish exports. This could result in a significant loss of foreign exchange earnings from this sector.”

Dr. Lamptey made these remarks after addressing stakeholders at an Iwatch Africa meeting with coastal communities in Ghana. The meeting was held following the publication of a report highlighting the industry’s issues. She reassured stakeholders that efforts are being made to reverse the trend, warning that another yellow card could severely damage the country’s reputation.

“We are putting in more efforts to rectify the situation. We hope that the EU will reassess us and provide the necessary recommendations where needed,” she said.

Dr. Lamptey stressed the importance of collaboration among all partners to help the country avoid a ban. “We have done a lot of work in this regard, and I believe that Ghana may soon be out of this category. Otherwise, it will be a significant concern for many,” she added.

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According to Iwatch Africa, Ghana’s local fishing industry is predominantly controlled by large-scale vessel operators, many of whom are foreigners. The report revealed that 32% of companies analyzed in Ghana’s fisheries sector were either owned or controlled by politically exposed persons (PEPs), with over 80% having connections to Chinese ownership interests.

“Twenty-five companies analyzed showed that no director or shareholder had filed their PEP status as required by law. The Registrar of Companies in Ghana has not prosecuted a single case of PEPs’ non-disclosure of status or beneficial ownership, despite promises of legal action made years earlier,” the report stated.

This development is causing significant harm to the country, as many politically exposed persons and influential individuals continue to benefit from illegal practices. Iwatch Africa also found that over 80% of companies licensed to operate fishing vessels in Ghana failed to declare beneficial ownership, despite evidence of foreign ownership ties.

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Dr. Lamptey, who is part of a steering committee advising the Minister for Fisheries on policy initiatives, called for calm as efforts are being made to address the situation. She noted that the legal regime is undergoing review, and new legislation is expected to be presented to parliament soon. This legislation aims to introduce more punitive sanctions for those found guilty of illegal fishing practices.

Ghana’s fishing industry faces a critical juncture. The potential EU ban on fish exports due to illegal fishing methods poses a severe threat to the country’s economy and international reputation. However, with concerted efforts from stakeholders and the implementation of stricter legal measures, there is hope that Ghana can overcome these challenges and ensure a sustainable future for its fishing industry.

Source: Myjoyonline.com

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