Mrs. Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, has called on members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) to collaborate to develop the aquaculture industry of member states.
She observed that though aquaculture was considered the best alternative to reducing the overdependence of countries on marine fishery resources, the sector had not been able to bridge the demand gap due to inadequate infrastructure, low technical capacity, high cost, and weak enforcement of regulatory measures.
“Managing the ocean and its resources, especially the fisheries resources need collaborative efforts by all member states,” the Minister stressed.
She was speaking at the opening of a preliminary session of the 7th Meeting of Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture of the OACPS that will take place on April 7 and April 8 under the theme, “OACPS Blue Economy Agenda 2030 – Catalysing the Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Development for the Future.”
Discussions focused on policy action on selected global ocean governance and multinational issues relating to preserving maritime zones in the face of climate-related sea-level rise and the strengthening of ocean-based actions for building resilience and sustainability.
Other areas are combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing in Members states, sustaining fisheries and aquaculture value chain to transform food systems, and the consideration for a draft of the Strategic Plan of Action for Fisheries and Aquaculture 2030.
Cristelle Pratt, OACPS Assistant Director-General of the Department of Climate Action and Environment, said the sector was crucial for the provision of food, promoting trade and supporting livelihood, particularly for 38 small island developing states.
She urged member states to pay attention to various negotiations on governance frameworks by the global community that had a direct bearing on the development of the aquaculture and fisheries sector of member states.
“This meeting has an opportunity to consider and provide guidance on our engagement in these multilateral processes, including the upcoming COP 15 of the UN convention on biological diversity,” she said.
Following recommendations to support aquaculture and breeding center development at the 6th meeting in Samoa in 2019, Mr. Michael Arthur-Dadzie, the Executive Director of the Fisheries Commission, indicated that the government had established four new public fish hatcheries.
Technical support, he also mentioned, had been given to the private sector to establish commercial hatcheries.
The OACPS is composed of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific States, which are signatories to the Georgetown Agreement or the Partnership Agreement between the OACPS and the European Union, officially called the “ACP-EC Partnership Agreement” or the “Cotonou Agreement”.
It was originally created to enhance cooperation between members and the European Union. Its main objective is to negotiate and implement, together, cooperation agreements with the European Community.
The OACPS consists of 79 Member-States, all of them, except Cuba, are signatories to the Cotonou Agreement, which binds them to the European Union.
There are currently 48 countries from Africa, 16 from the Caribbean, and 15 from the Pacific.