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26 Apr 2022

Business & Financial Times (Ghana)

Ghana: Minister says most industrial fleets are under Chinese-Ghanaian joint ventures as EJF report indicates 90% are Chinese-owned

"EJF maintains 90% of industrial fishing vessels operating illegally" 26 April 2022

Following over four years of field investigations, crew interviews and satellite tracking, the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) has published a comprehensive report analysis of China’s distant water fleet and its impact on fishing vessels around the world. [...]

In Ghana, for instance, the report maintains around 90 percent of the nation’s industrial trawl fleet is suspected to be owned by Chinese corporations – who use local people to ‘front’ companies to register as Ghanaian and circumvent the law. [...]

But the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mavis Hawa Koomson, at a recent fisheries stakeholder meeting clarified that most industrial fleets operating in the country’s waters are under joint-venture agreement with Ghanaian and Chinese ownership.

Miss Koomson strongly explained that the law allows for such collaborations.

However, the EJF said the profound lack of transparency in global fisheries is enabling unsustainable, unethical and illegal behaviour to thrive – since the report exposed the Chinese fleet’s activities as taking advantage of opaque systems not only in Ghana but around the world. [...]

EJF indicated that in March 2022, 18 vessels changed their Russian flag to a different nationality – more than three times the normal rate – upon an announcement by the UK to ban illegal Russian fishing vessels from UK ports.

The report said without clarity around vessel ownership, authorities cannot hold those profiting from these illegal acts to account. [...]