U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Christopher J. Lamora joined officials of the Government of Ghana, academia, civil society, and the private sector in a virtual learning event marking the conclusion of the Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP), a seven-year, $24 million program funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The Honorable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Hawa Koomson, and the Ghana Fisheries Commission Executive Director, Michael Arthur Dadzie, were among those in attendance.
In his remarks, Deputy Chief of Mission Lamora commended the SFMP’s work to strengthen fisheries sector management, noting that “We should all celebrate our collective achievements while recognizing that more work is needed to rescue Ghana’s small pelagic fisheries, which are in a dire state.” He also reiterated the willingness of the United States government to work with stakeholders to rebuild fish stocks that have been increasingly at risk due to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and to help ensure a locally sourced, nutritious, and sustainable supply of protein. Speaking at the event, Honorable Minister Koomsoon added “together we can change the narrative and support actions for sustainable management of Ghana’s fisheries to ensure food security and the livelihoods of fishers.”
Through the SFMP, the University of Rhode Island partnered with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Fisheries Commission to strengthen data-driven decision-making, improve the fisheries sector regulatory framework, adopt responsible fishing practices to facilitate rebuilding Ghana’s marine fish stocks, and ensure viable livelihoods for fisher folk. The project also facilitated Ghana’s first-ever one-month closed season for the small-scale marine canoe sector in 2019 to help rebuild depleted species and launched a Canoe Identification Card system to better regulate the number of canoes active in the sector.
The SFMP complemented Ghana’s ongoing efforts to address the immediate effects of COVID-19 by disseminating information to fishing communities on health and safety protocols, including via a widely viewed video produced by popular Ghanaian musician Kofi Kinaata, and piloted an economic safety net program with approximately 2,000 vulnerable households.