Accra, March 17, GNA – The Bloomberg Philanthropies through the Centre for Maritime Law and Security Africa (CEMLAWS Africa), has undertaken a fisheries transparency activity, within the framework of Bloomberg’s broader “Vibrant Oceans Initiative,” in the Tsokomey community.
The step was to enhance fisheries governance in the community near Bortianor in the Greater Accra Region.
As part of their outlined fisheries transparency activities in Ghana, the CEMLAWS Africa selected the Tsokomey community to commemorate the 2022 International Women’s Day on the theme: “The Role of Women in Fisheries Governance and Transparency”.
The activity was under their umbrella project titled: Enhancing Transparency in the Fisheries Sectors of Ghana, Benin, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire, funded by the Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Dr Rebecca Essamuah, a Facilitator on the project, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the project was aimed at promoting fishery sector transparency and accountability, strengthening fisheries governance and enforcement, and enhancing information-sharing mechanisms within the fishery sector.
To successfully achieve the goal of the two-year project, the team held a meeting with stakeholders in Tsokomey with special focus on women fisher folk to unearth and help to address challenges in their line of duty.
They designed a questionnaire for the stakeholders to respond to, on food security, access to information, inclusion and enforcement capacity, capacity-building, mangrove cutting, pollution, fishers Associations, and alternative jobs in closed season for oyster pickers as well as their knowledge of the Fisheries Regulations.
Dr Essamuah said in 2017, a participatory rural appraisal by the Sustainable Fisheries Management Project in partnership with the Development Action Association revealed the socio-economic dynamics of the Tsokomey community, which informed the development of a Management Plan for oyster harvesting within the Densu Estuary.
CEMLAWS Africa, therefore, took the opportunity to align the objectives of the Vibrant Ocean Initiatives, to mark strides taken with respect to the implementation of the developed Management Plan by the community.
This was expected to bring focus to the multiplicity of challenges experienced by women processors who relied on dwindling marine fish landings, and the environmental pressures of the Acadja tilapia culture in an adjoining lagoon.
Dr Essamuah indicated that CEMLAWS Africa identified Tsokomey as a suitable case study, adding that, “We hope that Tsokomey can be put on the map for stakeholders involved in decision making, governance, and policy formulation to remember that the women fisher folks play a major role and that they should be involved in every decision-making process so that the transparency will reflect in livelihoods,” she added.
Mr Gabriel Gator, a co-facilitator on the project, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, bemoaned the exclusion of women in the community in salient decision-making processes in the fishery sector, saying, it had a negative impact on them.
“Moreover, they lamented the weak enforcement on certain aspects of the fishery regulations which creates transparency gaps in the fish value chain and we intend to contribute to the establishment of some policies to cover the transparency gaps in Tsokomey and other fishing communities, and project countries,” he added.
Mrs Patricia Kpekpena Ashigbui, Secretary for Tsokomey Fish Processors Association, expressed gratitude to Bloomberg and CEMLAWS Africa, and expressed optimism that their initiatives will bring significant change to the fishery sector in Tsokomey and beyond to contribute to contribute to economic growth.