Earlier this month, inter-agency representatives of the ‘Ports Task Force Ghana’ received a 7-day long training on the implementation of the FAO Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), which ended on Wednesday 06th July 2022.
Participants included representatives of the Fisheries Commission (in particular its MCS division) as well as representatives from other agencies such as the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), among others. Representatives from the two other anglophone countries of the West Africa Task Force (WATF), Nigeria and Liberia, also participated as observers.
The training was a joint activity of two initiatives, namely the ‘Supporting effective PSMA implementation in Africa: Intelligence-led Port Controls’ programme funded by the Oak Foundation and the ‘Fisheries Intelligence and MCS Support in West Africa’ project funded by Norad.
Organized under the auspices of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) and the Ghana Fisheries Commission, the training was delivered by a technical team consisting of TMT, Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF) and Global Fishing Watch (GFW). The workshop also provided an opportunity for the Fisheries Commission to update partner agencies on the current status of PSMA implementation in Ghana.
Classroom sessions focused on risk-based approach to the planning and targeting of foreign vessel inspections. Risk assessment methods were introduced as well as new tools under development, such as a ‘PSMA Port Profile’ of the port of Tema and Vessel Viewer, a mobile application developed by GFW and TMT aimed at providing port inspectors with the most up-to-date information on a fishing vessel’s identity and operations.
Practical sessions included classroom exercises focused on the processing of AREPs (Advance Request for Entry to Port), document verification and evidence collection, as well as dockside exercises with the inspection of a foreign-flagged purse seiner.
Ghana became a Party to the PSMA in December 2016, and has since 2018 initiated a process to review its legal framework and adapt its inter-agency mechanisms to the requirements set out in the agreement. The ‘Ports Task Force Ghana’ was established in that context with support from Norad, then GIZ. The current projects aim to bolster practical implementation of the PSMA in Ghana and three other countries – Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Kenya.