Bui, (B/A), Oct. 2, GNA – The livelihoods of the over 500,000 residents living around the Bui Dam catchment area would soon be improved, Miss Sherry Ayittey Minister of Fisheries and Aqua-Culture Development disclosed on Wednesday.
This, Miss Ayittey said, was because a comprehensive aqua-culture project along 444 kilometres square reservoir created by the Dam is being developed by the Ministry.
She said the Ministry was collaborating with the Bui Power Authority (BPA), Managers of the 400 megawatts hydro-electric power project, and would soon take inventory and zone the reservoir for the project.
Miss Ayittey was speaking at a stakeholder’s forum at the Dam’s plant site to outdoor the newly constituted members of the Fisheries Advisory Panel of the BPA at Bui, in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
The 12-member panel is chaired by Mr. Patrick Okrah Kwakye, the Director of Resources, Estates and Environment of the BPA, and comprises representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, Water Research Institute, Coalition of NGOs in water, National Inland Canoe Fishermen Council, local communities and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aqua-Culture Development.
They are tasked to facilitate the implementation of the fisheries management plan of the BPA, take regular assessment of the fishing stock, and ensure proper management of the Bui reservoir.
Miss Ayittey explained that the Ministry was engaging both local and international fishing experts, to provide technical advice for the development of the aqua-culture project.
She noted that aside power generation, there was the need to capitalise on the numerous economic potentials created by the construction of the Dam to generate jobs for, especially the local people to enhance their livelihoods.
This would empower the residents to engage in large scale and commercial fishing activities to increase annual fish stock production in the country.
Miss Ayittey cautioned the fishermen in the area to adhere to proper methods of fishing, not only to preserve the reservoir but also protect the Dam.
The Sector Minister observed that the longevity of the national asset depended much on the reservoir, cautioning that if the fisher folks use dynamites and other heavy earth moving machines to undertake fishing and illegal mining, the Dam would be destroyed.
She said very soon, the Ministry would register boat owners operating in the area and encouraged them to form associations to ensure that the fishermen adhered to best fishing practices.
Mr. Jabesh Amissah-Arthur, the Chief Executive Officer of the BPA, warned the local people against fishing in the “buffer zone” which is a restricted area of the reservoir.
He explained the reservoir is situated at the restricted area of the National Park, which is a Wildlife Forest Reserve, hence the BPA must ensure that the activities of fishermen did not obstruct security of the wildlife.
The CEO said the BPA appreciated the relationship, which existed between it and that affected people of the Dam and expressed optimism that such relationship would be strengthened for mutual benefit.
The BPA Act, (Act 740) mandates the Authority to ensure sustainable fishing in the Bui reservoir of the Bui Dam project.
In accordance with this, the BPA initiated the preparation of a fisheries management plan based on fish stock assessment study in the reservoir.