Ghana Tuna Association petitions parliament over approval of Hawa Koomson, Lacks of appreciation of fisheries matters

The Ghana Tuna Association has petitioned the Speaker of Parliament over the poor performance of the nominee to head the Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Ministry, Mavis Hawa Koomson.

The association feels the nominee is not capable of running the Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Ministry.

It highlighted some sector concerns in the petition like the collapsing pole and line sector, the dearth of skilled labour, international relations matters concerning climate change, among others.

Critics have said Mrs. Koomson did not demonstrate an adequate understanding of the sector.

In its petition, the association said Mrs. Koomson’s “basic skill sets, biases and passions are such that they may not fit into dealing with the challenges that the sector faces currently and the other workings expected of the sector minister.”

Though the association said it has been so willing to work with any person who is appointed at the pleasure of the President it noted that “recent experiences have taught us that we need as stakeholders to pick the early signals and submit our concerns to the attention of the appointing authority for whatever remedy that may be available, in order to protect our industries and businesses from decisions that are likely to impact them negatively and further collapse the sector”.

It thus urged the Speaker of Parliament to act on the concerns.

Here is the full petition:

GHANA TUNA ASSOCIATION
BANKERS: P. O. Box SC. 102
Ghana Commercial Bank – Tema Community l, Tema
Barclays Bank – TemaTCI: 0303 204137
E-mail: http://www.ghanatunaassociation.com
Our Ref:……… Your Date: …………………20
Friday, February 19, 2021

The Rt. Hon. Speaker
Parliament of the Republic of Ghana
Parliament House-Accra

Dear Sir,
PETITION THE MATTER OF PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE FOR THE MINISTRY OF FISHERIES AND DEVELOPMENT.
The Ghana Tuna Association congratulates you on your election for the High Office of the Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana and wishes you a successful tenure. The Association looks forward to a fruitful working relationship with you and Parliament as a whole.

Rt. Hon. Speaker, as stakeholders within the fisheries sector particularly the tuna sector, we listened to the vetting of the Hon. Nominee for the Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Ministry and we are of the humble opinion that her basic skill sets, biases, and passions are such that they may not fit into dealing with the challenges that the sector faces currently and the other workings expected of the sector Minister.

The Association writes to bring to your attention some major issues that confront the sector and key engagements within the sector such as international trade as well as international relations that continue to inform policy direction of the sector. These issues we strongly affirm should also be part of the considerations in selecting a Minister, Deputy Ministers, and other appointees to lead the fisheries sector.

As an industry, we admit we are part of a whole, and consideration needed to be given to other players in all decisions; however such considerations must fairly reflect the interest of all the sectors.

Such include:

  1. COLLAPSING POLE AND LINE SECTOR (P&L); the Pole and Line sector is almost collapsed with only six out of the twenty vessels currently active. The causes of this challenge are mainly the inability of the vessels to harvest live baits (anchovies) and the high cost of operations including exorbitant license fees and the high cost of marine gasoline. These are issues that can no longer wait and losing our pole and line fleet may not be looked on favorably by the international community. This is because the pole and line fishing method is considered the most environmentally friendly and conservation compliant, giving its catches a premium pricing on the international market.
  2. SKILLED LABOUR; the sector has for a long while relying on the skilled crew from Korea to captain our vessels. There is a need not just to train skilled crew but also deck sailors. A situation requiring leadership with an in-depth appreciation of the sector and issues within the sector.
  3. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONSHIP; the European Union and many interesting countries regularly engage Ghana on many issues including Illegal Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing practices, international trade relationships, and appeal for access to fish in our Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ). These are relations that are ongoing and will require that a Minister, once appointed should quickly develop the set skills for such engagements. Without prejudices to the Hon. Nominee, it was quite evident that the Hon. the nominee may require longer than expected time to develop the needed passion and set skills to be the arrowhead for such policy engagement. The industry, as well as the country, are likely to suffer the consequences for any lapses that may arise.
  4. EMERGING ISSUES; emerging issues such as the blue economy with all its activities, including Hydrocarbon extraction, Climate Change, Maritime Transport, and piracy require a certain level of understanding of the sector in making a choice for the Minister responsible for Fisheries as the policy head.

As an industry, we have been so willing to work with any person who is appointed at the pleasure of H. E the President without raising any concern. However, recent experiences have taught us that we need as stakeholders to pick the early signals and submit our concerns to the attention of the appointing authority for whatever remedy that may be available, in order to protect our industries and businesses from decisions that are likely to impact them negatively and further collapse the sector.

It is our humble opinion that our concern will be given the needed consideration in appointing the nominee for the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development.

We are grateful.
cc.
The Hon. Chairman
Appointments Committee Parliament House-Accra
The Ag. President National Fisheries Association of Ghana-Tema
The Ag. President
Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association-Tema
The President
Ghana Inshore Fisheries Association
Tema
The Executive Secretary
Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council
Accra

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