Keta — To better regulate the marine artisan fisheries sector, the government has launched Canoe Identification Cards (CIC) with 13,600 canoe owners registered so far.
The registration is expected to enable the Fisheries Commission, the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC) and other partners to implement appropriate management measures that would help Ghana to build more sustainable and profitable fisheries industry.
As a result of this registry, all operational canoes in the fisheries sector would be issued with identification card bearing unique quick response codes readable with mobile phone application.
The CIC is a United States government project funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to address critical issues in Ghana's fisheries industry.
The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MOFAD), Mrs Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye, who launched the cards on Tuesday, urged all fishermen to register their canoes.
She explained that fishermen without the CIC would not be given premix fuel as the card was to ensure equitable and transparent distribution of the fuel to help address distribution challenges.
"The current free and open access regime for the artisanal fisheries has contributed to overcapacity, overfishing, low productivity and low profitability," she said.
To address the open access regime, the Minister said the Fisheries Commission with support from the World Bank West African Regional Fisheries embarked on a canoe registration and embossment exercise in 2014.
USAID Ghana Agriculture Team Leader, Madam Amber Lily Kenny, thanked MOFAD, Fisheries Commission and all partners for achieving successful implementation of CIC project.
She said fisheries management was vital for Ghana and the world, as fisheries played a crucial role in supporting livelihoods, employment, and driving social and economic development.
According to her, the card would significantly manage the influx of canoes and reduce overcapacity within Ghana's fragile marine fisheries sector and facilitate management of the fisheries resources.
Chairman of National Premix Fuel Committee, Nii Lante Bannerman, urged the fishermen to corporate with the exercise to ensure transparency and accountability in the distribution of the premix fuel.