A research initiated by Friends of the Nation (FoN), a social-environmental Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has revealed that about half of the 300 fish landing sites across the country are in danger as they face encroachment from developers and erosion.
The research noted that the current encroachment and sale of lands along landing sites due to the high demand of beach land for hospitality facilities are affecting fishing activities and likely to adversely impact the livelihoods of an estimated 1.5 million people.
As a result, FoN is pushing government and the relevant state agencies to put in systems and policies to effectively enhance operations of fishermen by securing these landing sites from further destruction.
FoN’s Programmes Manager, Kwadwo Kyei Yamoah told the B&FT that: “Landing sites are very important because when you go fishing, you need a location to land the canoe, process and smoke the fish. You also need land to keep and repair your canoe and even keep your items so fish landing sites are keep components of the fishery industry.
However, we have come to the realization that in a lot of areas the fish landing sites are being sold off to hospitality businesses and in the Western Region specifically, to real estate developers who wish to produce beachfront development for the growing oil and gas industry.”
Mr. Yamoah made this known at a two-day workshop on fish landing site mapping and securing, organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nation (UN) in partnership with Friends of the Nation (FoN) and the Far Ban Bo project.
According to Mr. Yamoah, “our intervention is to collectively engage stakeholders from the local government and district assemblies. We also have stakeholders from the Lands Commission, the Land Use Planning Authority, traditional leaders, fisher folk and others including the Fisheries Commission.
“What we are doing is to collate recommendations and road maps that will help us streamline the securing of fish landing sites to ensure that they are properly demarcated, mapped, documented and given legal approval,” he added.
In some cases of erosion destroying some sites, Mr. Yamoah added that stakeholders are working to identify future area that these fisherfolks can use for their landing sites.
“We can then secure these areas in advance so that they are not sold off. When these landing site are gone there are no alternative area to land their fish, so this is the sort of intervention that we are providing,” he said.
He noted that there would be a strong advocacy to back the work of the stakeholders to ensure concrete solutions found.
He said, “After this stakeholder dialogue we will also be engaging government to ensure that we have policy backing to ensure that the landing sites are properly demarcated, marked and secured.”