Regional fisheries sector non-governmental organization, Fisheries Committee of West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) has held a one-day workshop for players in the domestic fisheries industry on how to promote decent work across the value chain.
The workshop brought together stakeholders across Ghana’s fishing sector to discuss options and obstacles to achieving safety and decent working conditions for all fish workers in Ghana.
It was a validation session to discuss findings of a fisheries sector report conducted by Dr. Vanessa Jaiteh from the University of Nottingham and hosted by the FCWC relating to the increasing concerns of social sustainable issues in fisheries within the West African coastline.
The study examined labour conditions and safety concerns of fishers in Ghana’s artisanal, semi-industrial and industrial sectors.
Findings from the report showed that about 97percent of industrial fishers do not have contracts with same for the semi-industrial sector.
Their contracts are often like verbal agreements, so they are not formal. I believe it is in violation of Ghana’s labour laws and that is something that needs to be addressed.
Without contracts the crew will not know what they are going to be paid; so, they back to shore before finding out what they are going to be paid,” Dr. Jaiteh said.
Participants, comprised mostly of study target groups, recommended the need for skilled manpower in the domestic fisheries business to engender decent labour practices across the value chain and to sustain the industry.
“In every enterprise or discipline, the human capital is key. The tuna industry could collapse should foreigners opt out of the business because of the absence of Ghanaians at the top echelon of the industry.
Unfortunately, we have stopped training of human resource for the fisheries industry. The few that have been trained are now out of the country and its one of the reasons why foreigners have a strong hold of the local fisheries industry,” said Mr. Daniel Owusu, an executive member of NAFAG.
He added: “We are talking a natural resource that provide about 60percent of animal protein to the people. It’s both a livelihood and security issue and so its sustenance should be in the hands of the indigenes.”
Bright Tsai, who is a fisher, shared some of common sufferings of sailors in the industrial, and semi-industrial sector, adding that the creation of unions have largely been discouraged by their superiors.
“Our crew managers put fear in the boatswains against joining unions. We are cautioned that we will have to take jobs from the union if we join them. Many of us have been sacked due to our union issues,” he narrated.
According to the Fisheries Management Advisor of FCWC, Abena Serwah Asante, the workshop formed part of activities of the organisation intended to provoke positive policy creation that promotes sustainable fisheries.