Ghana loses $81.1 million to illegal fishing activities annually, study says

A study has revealed that Ghana loses between $52.7 to $81.1 million annually through illegal fish trans-shipment, popularly called "Saiko."

Ghana loses $81.1 million to illegal fishing activities annually, study says

The study, titled "Stolen at sea: How illegal Saiko fishing is fuelling the collapse of Ghana's fisheries," also indicated that the impact of industrial trawl fleet on Ghana's marine fisheries resources had been severely underestimated.

This was conducted by Hen Mpoano and Environmental Justice Foundation, both non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on fisheries resources.

According to the report only 40 per cent of an estimated 167,000 tonnes of fish caught by fishing trawlers in 2017, were landed legally and reported to the Fisheries Commission.

Approximately, 100,000 tonnes of fish were landed through Saiko in 2017, however, official statistics reported by the fishing trawlers to the Fisheries Commission was 67,205 tonnes in the same year, despite observers being present on a number of vessels.

Majority of trawl vessels engaged in the Saiko trade the report said were owned by Chinese.

The Executive Director of Hen Mpoano, Mr Kofi Agbogah who spoke at the launch of the study in Accra on Monday, June 10, 2019, said although Saiko was prohibited under Ghana's fisheries laws and attracts a fine of between $100,000 and $2 million respectively, the practice was widespread in the country due to lack of adherence to fisheries laws.

According to him, Saiko trade was having a significant impact on small pelagic stocks and "are likely a key contributing factor to the collapse" of the country's artisanal fishery industry."

He said, "a recent analysis of Saiko landing by the University of Cape Coast found that small pelagics made up about 55 per cent of the fish contained in Saiko slabs."

The study represented the first comprehensive attempt to estimate the volume and value of fish landed through Saiko as a basis to better understand the ecological and socio-economic implications of the practice.

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