The 2023 EfD Ghana Policy Day at the University of Ghana on 4 October, highlighted the contribution of research to society, particularly the impact of the EfD Ghana center on the country’s natural resource sector. It was also an opportunity to exchange knowledge on the future of sustainable fisheries management in Ghana and reflect on the strategies needed to foster enduring research-policy collaborations.
Participants heard impact stories that were telling of the quality and relevance of EfD Ghana’s research and engagements in the fisheries sector. These spanned the center’s research on the scientific underpinnings of the impacts of the closed fishing season to that on the allowable number of boats and vessels to maximize resource rents. This inspired many, including the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, to pledge a renewed commitment to collaborate with the center towards the goal of a sustainable fisheries sector.
The Policy Day was organized as part of the 17th EfD Annual Meeting, on the topic Sustainable Fisheries Management in Ghana: Prospects and Challenge. The speakers included Moses Anim, the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Ghana; Gunnar Köhlin, Director of Environment for Development (EfD); Wisdom Akpalu, Director of EfD Ghana; Peter Quartey, Director of ISSER, University of Ghana and Deputy Director of EfD Ghana; Thomas Sterner and Håakan Eggert, both of the University of Gothenburg; and Kyei Yamoah, a civil society representative.
Research an indispensable tool
Deputy Minister Moses Anim underlined in his keynote address the pivotal role of the fisheries sector as an essential source of livelihood and protein for millions of people, and foreign exchange for the country.
“The role of research as an indispensable tool on our journey towards this goal of a sustainable fisheries sector remains relevant, more than ever,” he says, urging EfD Ghana and other relevant research communities to continue on the path of rigorous scientific inquiry “in order to support this shared endeavor with your findings and expertise.”
Doing well but room for improvement
Kyei Yamoah, Director of Fisheries Alliance Ghana, commended in his presentation, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture for being proactive in introducing and enforcing policies aimed at protecting the fish stock from over-exploitation. He encouraged the Ministry to maintain and possibly improve upon this demonstrated openness to working with researchers and other concerned entities. This, he said, would help achieve collaborative decision-making and improved outcomes for the sector.
Gunnar Köhlin gave an overview of the Environment for Development (EfD) initiative. His presentation situated the work of EfD Ghana in the global network’s overarching goal to promote sustainable development through robust research, and evidence-led advocacy and capacity development.
The presentations by Wisdom Akpalu and other experienced fisheries researchers, Thomas Sterner and Håakan Eggert, on the main event topic, allowed participants to take in insights from different perspectives and engage deeply with the topic. This led to an enriching and engaging interaction session involving all participants.
Stakeholder engagement and buy-in at the forefront
Speaker after speaker emphasized the importance of stakeholder engagement and collaboration in advancing shared objectives. Peter Quartey urged participants to take the Policy Day as an opportunity to not only share insights and knowledge but also to reaffirm their commitment to working with EfD Ghana and to the cause of sustainable development.
Wisdom Akpalu also used his opening remarks to reiterate the call for continued partnerships, saying, “In all of these endeavors [EfD Ghana’s research achievements], the engagement and buy-in of stakeholders like you has been invaluable – not only in helping us identify and focus our energies on demand-driven research topics but also in providing us prized avenues to share the results of our work for the benefit of society.”
The 2023 EfD Ghana Policy Day was successful in bringing together an array of local and international stakeholders and creating a quality and inclusive platform to discuss the future of sustainable fisheries management in Ghana, as well as strengthen friendships and collaborative networks. The event was held at the conference center of ISSER, University of Ghana, with participants including fisheries scholars, policymakers, civil society organizations, fishers and fishmongers, and media representatives.
By Vicentia Quartey
Photos: EfD Ghana