The two-day National Fish festival organised by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has ended in Accra.

The festival which was on the theme ‘Promoting Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for National Development” aimed at providing a platform for fishers and key stakeholders, along the fish value chain to showcase their products, engage the public and acknowledge their invaluable contributions to national food security.

In her opening remarks, the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Hon. Mavis Hawa Koomson, reiterated the importance of aquaculture in the face of dwindling capture in Marine fisheries “In the face of the dwindling catches in the marine sector, aquaculture provides an important alternative to fish production and offers enormous economic benefit to both fishers, citizens, providing jobs and income for hundreds of households and the potential for foreign exchange earnings to the country.

She added that government, therefore, has initiated programmes in the aquaculture sub-sector to enhance and sustain fish production.

Touching on the National Aquaculture and commercial farms which is expected to be commissioned in 2023, she disclosed that, “the National Aquaculture Centre and Commercial Farms would contain indoor aquaculture structures, classrooms and accommodation, pack houses and cold storage facilities. The waste water from the facility will be used for the cultivation of vegetables”.

Hon. Koomson indicated that, government had also conducted a survey on site suitability for the 300 landing beaches to serve as construction rites for the Premix automatic tanks, inputs to 189 communities along the coast during the 2022 close fishing season.

On premix automation, the Minister noted that, the construction of the outlets form part of government’s efforts to automate premix fuel outlets across the country to help address the incidence of premix fuel diversion and hoarding.

On his part, The Chief Director of the Ministry, Mr. Kwesi Armo-Himbson said government’s vision for the fisheries sector was to transform and grow the aquaculture sub-sector through increasing domestic fish production, reducing fish import and creating job opportunities along the value chain by providing a conducive environment.

He mentioned current challenges confronting the sector which include climate change, pollution of water bodies with plastic waste, illegal mining and illegal fishing practices which are all impacting adversely on the sector and called for the need to manage fisheries resources sustainably to ensure continuous contribution to socio-economic development of fishers and the nation.

The Executive Director of the Fisheries Commission, Mr. Fred Kwasi Antwi-Boadu,  said  going forward the fish festival would be one of the avenues to interact with fishers, stakeholders, potential investors, educate the public on programs, policies and projects of the Ministry and its agencies.

The two-day festival was marked by a durbar, panel discussions on topical issues about the fisheries and aquaculture sector, and exhibition of fish and fishery products.

There was exhibition of variety of fish products by exhibitors, fish farmers, fish processors and fish traders, as well as, dealers in fishing and fish farming materials such as fish feed, fishing nets among others.

The fish festival was instituted in 2015 to primarily celebrate distinguished fishers and outstanding fishing communities for their support to socio-economic development

This year’s edition was also to commemorate this year’s World Fisheries Day which is marked on November 22 each year.