Youth abandoning fisheries sector, study reveals

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The fisheries sector is said to be losing its youthful workforce as most young people continue to shun fishing for other more lucrative ventures, a situation that puts the future of the sector in jeopardy.

 

A recent study, Marine and Fisheries Governance, commissioned by the Centre for Coastal Management, University of Cape Coast (CCM-UCC), has revealed that many young people are said to be abandoning the sector because they see it as full of unending challenges and not “lucrative” at all.

 

It further identified low educational backgrounds of fishers, poor sanitation, poor road network in some fishing communities, lack of credit facilities for fishers, poor quality of fish due to negative fishing practices, and the issue of low catches, among other things, as contributing factors.

 

The study recommended co-management as the way of ensuring proper management of the fishing sector, while ensuring that the traditional authorities and chiefs are empowered to play active roles in its management.

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It was undertaken as part of a five-year USAID/UCC Fisheries and Coastal Management Capacity Building Support Project that spanned 2014 to 2019.

 

Loss

 

Speaking at a stakeholder validation workshop in Accra, a lead consultant of the study, Prof Francis Nunoo, of the Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences at the University of Ghana, said the youth abandoning the sector is giving way to losing the skills and experience that need to be passed on from the older generation to the younger ones.

 

“The implication is that there is not much future for the fisheries, given that quite a number of young people do not want to go into the fisheries sector. The old fishermen have a lot of skills that they must pass on. Because going out there in the sea, and the fishermen are able to detect where the fish is, and are able to find their way back home, is a good skill to have,” he said.

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“Our young men are not going for it because they want quick money, while fishing demand some patience,” he observed.

 

Prof Nunoo, who is also the immediate past chief director of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, advocated scientific and technical training for people in the fisheries sector.

 

“And that’s why the idea of the Anomabo Fishing College is welcoming, and that needs to come out very fast to ensure proper skills training,” he stated.

 

He further noted that even though the college is late in coming, “we must get it established quickly to train the needed skills for the future.”

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In his view, the Free Senior High School programme is a good foundation to afford the youth a better grounding of secondary education in all fields, including the fishing sector.

 

Low productivity

 

Another revelation was that the district assemblies along the coast where fishing is a major activity were found not to be doing much.

 

“The assemblies just go there and collect taxes and levies from the people, but are doing little or nothing in improving their living conditions,” Prof Nunoo bemoaned.

 

He explained that the law empowers the assemblies to support in regulating, registering and licencing the operations of fishers.

 

The workshop was attended by selected fisher folks, including fishmongers, processors from Volta and Greater Accra regions, representatives of NGOs, and the media.

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