Government, through the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, has earmarked 25 fishing communities along the Volta Lake for benefit from a Fisheries Nucleus Outgrower Input Support Scheme sometime this year.
The move, according to the ministry, will be a collaboration with relevant stakeholders including the private sector in order to roll-out the scheme.
According to the ministry, it has set a target of increasing aquaculture fish production from 46,250mt to 85,000mt for this year.
A report from the committee on food, agriculture and cocoa affairs stated that the country was able to make a net saving of US$38.79million due to a reduction in fish imports from 145,910.3mt in 2014 to 102,874.95mt in 2015.
Already, the ministry has initiated a programme to encourage aquaculture in the Volta Lake — with 65% of the Volta Lake’s zonation completed. In addition, 50 fish-farmers have been trained in Hatchery management, and over 3,000 fish-farmers have also been provided with extension services.
Approving GH?52million for the ministry’s activities for the 2016 fiscal year, chairman of the committee on Food, Agric and Cocoa Affairs in Parliament — Gabriel Kodwo Essilfie, lauded the ministry for the continued effort at increasing fish production to meet local consumption and reduce imports of fish and fishery products.
The initiative, which is contained in a report by the Committee on Food, Agric and Cocoa Affairs in Parliament, also noted that the fisheries ministry intends to partner with the private sector to promote the production of shrimps, mollusca, clams and tilapia.
Among the outlook for 2016, the report reveals the rehabilitation of three public hatcheries at Kona-Odumase, Ashaiman and Dormaa-Ahenkro to boost fingerling production for aquaculture.
Under the fisheries resource management programme, the ministry plans to implement key activities within the year. These include a rehabilitation of a six fish-landing sites at Mumford, James Town, Teshie, Anloga, Tapa-Abotoase and Dzemeni under the West Africa Regional Fisheries Project (WARFP).
Furthermore, the report also indicates that there will be a construction of a 25 landing sites at Axim, Dixcove, Elmina, Komenda, Moree, Kpando-Torkor, Winneba, Senya-Breku,Fete, Ada, Keta, Cape Coast and Tema New Town, as well as the supply of 2,000 outboard motors.
Members of the committee were impressed with the ministry’s internally generated fund’s performance. The ministry’s projected figure in 2015 was GH?11million, but actual collection shot up to GH?12million, and for 2016 the projection is GH?13million.
Mr. Essilfie also commended the ministry’s financial performance, and urged government to ensure that sufficient resources are allocated to the ministry to enhance its performance.
Some of the highpoints the report captured in 2015 included the Fisheries Law Enforcement Unit carrying out 360 and 240 hours of sea and land Patrol/Surveillance exercises. Over 60 arrests were made regarding illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities.
A total of 3,884.61mt of fish-feed and 205.94mt of other fish species were exported, the report stated.