Fisheries management processes will be improved by engaging scientific research and findings as part of the driving forces and rationale for management. This will be achieved in several ways. Strengthening the research and stock assessment capacities of the Fisheries Commission’s Fisheries Statistical Service Division will allow it to collect and analyze data and present it to policy and decision makers. A science and technical working group has already been formed with the aim to provide sound scientific advice and analysis on proposed fisheries management measures and policies. Globally, Information and Communications Technology innovations are transforming the way fisheries information is collected and analyzed, and Ghana can apply a wealth of experience in this area. Science-based fisheries management has proven effective in many countries by restoring abundance of fish and shellfish, thus creating jobs and wealth for their societies. In keeping with the science-based fisheries management approach, complexity in fisheries compels managers to consider all available data or relevance to a particular fisheries problem. Articles 42 and 43 of the fisheries Act 625 (2002) state that fisheries management decisions “shall be based on the best scientific information available” and “shall specify the information and any other data required to be given or reported for the effective management and development of fisheries”. These data require valuable resources and competencies but can be manageable if stakeholders can be affiliate to assist in data collection as part of their ongoing seasonal observations on the fishing grounds. This model of partnership between stakeholders and researchers, known as “cooperative research” is well established in the U.S. and some West Africa (Senegal and Liberia). As part of the SFMP programs, fisheries research and data are considered the primary “building block” of information in making an effective management decision.
Key Outcomes and results expected over LoP as described in the Program Description include the following:
- FSSD producing/delivering relevant science-based information in collaboration with UCC to convene trainings and workshops with the FC and stakeholders to promote science-based decision making
- Several ICT innovations for mobile apps being used in fisheries management
- Improving fisheries and GIS data, utilizing stock assessments in management processes
- A formalized science and technical committee advising the FC
- Competent UCC personnel provided to GoG and stakeholder groups, businesses.