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Ghana faces potential EU ban on fish exports over illegal fishing practices – UG Lecturer

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A Senior Lecturer at the Department of Marine and Fisheries Science at the University of Ghana, Dr. Angela Lamptey, has raised alarms over Ghana’s risk of being banned from exporting fish and fish products to the European Union (EU) due to persistent illegal fishing practices.

Speaking at a recent meeting organized by Iwatch Africa with coastal communities in Ghana, Dr. Lamptey emphasized that Ghana has already received a yellow card from the EU.

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This yellow card signifies that Ghana’s fishing methods are deemed unsustainable and pose threats to consumers and the environment.

She expressed concerns that if Ghana does not rectify these issues promptly, it could face a full ban on its fish exports to the EU market, leading to significant economic repercussions.

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“The situation is becoming critical as the EU’s scrutiny of our fishing industry intensifies. If we fail to address the deficiencies in our monitoring systems and legal frameworks, other countries may also impose similar sanctions,” Dr. Lamptey cautioned.

Highlighting the findings of Iwatch Africa’s report on the fishing industry, Dr. Lamptey pointed out that a significant portion of Ghana’s fishing sector is controlled by large-scale vessel operators, many of whom are foreigners.

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The report revealed that 32% of companies analyzed in Ghana’s fisheries sector have ties to politically exposed persons (PEPs), with over 80% showing connections to Chinese ownership interests.

Shockingly, 25 companies failed to disclose their PEP status as required by law, without facing legal consequences.

“These findings underscore the urgent need for comprehensive reforms in our fishing industry,” Dr. Lamptey stressed.

She reassured stakeholders that efforts are underway to address these challenges, including legislative reviews aimed at introducing stricter penalties for offenders and enhancing regulatory oversight.

“We are working tirelessly to improve our compliance with international standards. It is crucial for all stakeholders to collaborate effectively to ensure Ghana avoids a ban and preserves its reputation as a responsible fish-exporting nation,” Dr. Lamptey emphasized.

To resolve the matter, Dr. Lamptey called for patience as Ghana works towards rectifying its fisheries sector’s shortcomings.

She expressed optimism that with concerted efforts and timely reforms, Ghana can regain the EU’s confidence and maintain its foreign exchange earnings from fish exports.

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