Expert Calls for Removal of Harmful Fishing Subsidies

Professor Rashid Sumaila

Director of the fisheries economics research unit of the Institute for Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Colombia (UBC) Canada, Professor Rashid Sumaila, has advised government to scrap what he terms ‘harmful subsidies’ in the fisheries sector.

According to Prof. Sumaila, although not all subsidies are bad, subventions on fuel for fishing, for instance, is not the way to go in ensuring sustainable fishing because, “that reduces the cost of fishing and so people fish more.”

Addressing stakeholders at the second National Conference on Fisheries and Coastal Environment, Prof. Sumaila, such subsidies can be channeled into skills development for the fisher folks so they do not hung on the last fish but develop alternative source of livelihood.

Speaking on the topic, ‘Global trends in fisheries in the context of the blue economy: Implications for Ghana,’ he said although there was some commitment in ensuring sustainable fishing there was more to be done especially  when the world was moving towards the reduction of harmful subsidies. 

“There is an effort now at the world trade organization to reduce subsidies so what I am urging Ghana and Africa to do is actually to lead the charge, take the moral high ground by removing the harmful subsidies ‘and lead Africa and the world to actually do something good for our environment and the future,” he stated.

Acting Mission Director, USAID/ Ghana, Steven E. Hendrix, acknowledged the progress made in the fisheries sector as a result of stakeholder collaboration.

“Our collaborative effort resulted in improving fisheries management, bolstering law enforcement against those who flaunt fishing regulations, and involving communities in the management of their local fishing resources. We have also seen improvements in the smoked fish value chain, which is particularly important to tens of thousands of women fish processors and marketers,” he said.

“At USAID, we want to see Ghana succeed. We see the progress made in the fisheries sector, under the leadership of the Minister, as a great example of Ghana moving “beyond aid” and along its journey to self-reliance.”

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri & Rhodaline Naa Adjeley King