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Ten Ghanaian Tuna Fishing Companies Fined Millions Over IUU

Ten tuna fishing companies have been fined USD 3.1 million for illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing (IUU) in the country’s waters and in breach of Ghana's fishing regulations.

The tuna purse seine fishing companies are Clear Skies Company, Afko Fisheries Company, Trust Allied Fishing Limited, Rico Fishing Company Limited, D-H Fishing Company, Panofi Company Limited, TTV, World Marine Company, Agnes Pack Fish Company Limited and G-L Company Limited. None of these IUU tuna vessels are part of the ISSF Pro-active Vessel Register; however, all are registered as dolphin safe companies on the EII website. Captains of these fined companies were authorized to certify their own catches as dolphin safe, with final products being marketed as such. Today the companies still appear on the list.

Earth Island Institute List of dolphin safe companies in GHANA:

- Panofi Co. Ltd.
- Clear Skies Co.,Ltd.
- TTV Limited
- MYROC Food Processing Co. Ltd.
- Pioneer Food Cannery (MW Brands)
- Ghana Agro Food Company
- Agnespark Fisheries Ltd
- DH Fisheries
- G-L Fsheries Co Ltd
- Rico Fisheries
- Sun-Han Co Ltd
- Trust Allied Fishing Ventures
- Vision Fisheries Co Ltd
- World marine Co Ltd

Source: EII website
The fines were imposed by the Fisheries Commission after investigations by a committee into allegations of IUU and transshipment in the country’s waters.
The IUU and transshipments are international infringements, as well as infringements against the laws of Ghana, and allegations of these practices have attracted the attention of the European Union (EU) to the fishing sector. These non–monitored transshipments at sea made traceability of the cargos virtually impossible for the authorities, with tuna of several purse seiners being mixed in small carriers.
The allegations have also resulted in the holding of some consignments of tuna products at ports of the EU, with implication for jobs in the sector, which employs about 5,000 people directly and 15,000 people indirectly.

The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mr. Nayon Bilijoe, outlined in an interview the measures by the ministry in tackling IUU and transshipment, as well as other commitments to adhere to international best practices in accordance with standards set out by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).
Mr. Bilijoe said the fines imposed were part of the commitment of the government to apply sanctions in contravention of the country’s laws and international regulations.

They were also some of the urgent measures that a delegation of the EU that visited Ghana from July 16 to the 18, 2013, to assess the country’s progress in tackling IUU and transshipments, urged the country to observe.

Led by Mr. Cesar Deben Alfonso, the Principal Advisor in the Division of Control and Regulation and IUU, the delegation called on the government not to give catch certificates to the Ghanaian tuna vessels that engaged in IUU and whose fishing activities could not be verified.

Mr. Bilijoe said until October, 2012, Ghana was unable to monitor the tuna vessels due to the absence of a VMS vessel monitoring systems. But now that all vessels in the country have been fitted with VMS equipment, monitoring was being carried out.

Thus, as part of exporting tuna products to the EU market, VMS data had to be part of the documentation of each consignment.
He said the government was committed to expanding the coverage of VMS to industrial trawlers by June next year.
The EU also asked for the VMS data with tuna products from foreign vessels licensed to fish in the country’s waters.
He said those foreign vessels had been asked to provide information from their VMS by August 9, 2013.
The EU delegation also asked the country to ensure better monitoring for the tracking of all the vessels in the country’s waters, as there were too many of them.
It is unclear what the implications will be for tuna imported within the EU from these ten companies.