GHANA - Mr Francis Gabrah, National Chairman of the National Union of Aquaculture Association has called for a nationwide aquaculture zonation policy to help enhance the fishing industry in the country.
He noted that currently the country’s aquaculture zonation policy was done on the upstream of the Volta Lake and that it was imperative to extend the policy across the water bodies to save money.
Mr Gabrah made the call during a panel discussion in Accra on the Ghana Journalists Association programme on Ghana Television dubbed: ‘Business Advocate’, supported by BUSAC Fund, Embassy of Denmark and the United States Agency for International Development.
Mr Garbah, commended the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Fisheries Commission for several initiatives undertaken to improve the operational environment for aquaculture investors in the country.
He indicated that good governance and sustainable management of the fisheries sector, reduction of illegal fishing and increasing the contribution of fish resources to the national economy would help boost the industry.
Mr Gabrah expressed the worry that despite the country’s huge potential to become self-sufficient in fish production, it was still spending huge sums of foreign exchange importing fish from other countries.
He noted that fish farming was a capital intensive project and mentioned high start-up cost, inadequate supply of fries and fingerlings, low quality of fish seed, low investment from the private sector, as factors hindering the growth of the aquaculture industry in the country.
Mr Emmanuel Nii Aryee, Head of Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Division at the Fisheries Commission said the Commission had engaged a consultant for the zonation of the Volta Lake to carry out site selection and disease control.
He said the consultant was to determine and collect relevant data for zonation of the Volta Lake system; develop a map showing high priority areas for aquaculture development on the Volta Lake, including species, and carry out comprehensive zonation according to international standards;
Dr Ruby Asmah, Director of Water Research Institute was optimistic that the blueprint on aquaculture would help address the annual shortfall in fish production against the increasing demand.
Mr Carl Fiati, Director of Natural Resource at the Environmental Protection Agency said his outfit was to ensure that fish farmers adhered to environmental laws in the sector and would continue to play its role in an efficient manner.
He said the aquaculture zonation policy would help bring sanity and manage the water environment better, devoid of pollution and other environmental challenges.