FISHERIES ACT, 2002 (ACT 625) SS 113-141

FISHERIES ACT, 2002 (ACT 625)
113. Liability for loss, damage or deterioration of items in custody

Subject to this Act, the Commission shall take or arrange for reasonable care to be taken of an item in its custody pursuant to this Act, but is not otherwise liable to a person for a loss, damage to or deterioration in the condition of a vessel, vehicle, an aircraft, a cargo or any other item while in the custody of the Commission under this Act.

114. Removal of property in custody

A person who removes a vessel, vehicle, an aircraft or any other item held in custody under this Act commits an offence whether or not the person knew that the vessel, vehicle, aircraft or other item was held in custody and is liable on summary conviction in addition to the cost of the item removed, to a fine of not less than two hundred and fifty penalty units and not exceeding one thousand penalty units.

PART FOUR

Jurisdiction and Evidence

115. Jurisdiction of the Court

(1) An act or omission in contravention of a provision of this Act committed

(a) by a person within the fishery waters,

(b) outside the fishery waters by a citizen or a person ordinarily resident in the Republic, or

(c) by a person on board a local fishing vessel, shall be dealt with in a court determined by the Chief Justice, but where a foreign fishing vessel is involved, the matter shall be dealt with by the High Court and the judicial proceedings shall be taken as if the act or omission had taken place within the jurisdiction of the Republic.

(2) Where an authorised officer or an observer is performing outside the fishery waters, a function conferred on the officer or observer in accordance with this Act, an act or omission of a person in contravention of a provision of this Act, shall be deemed to have been committed within the fishery waters.

(3) Despite any other law to the contrary, an information or a charge in respect of an offence under this Act may be laid at any time within one year of the commission of the offence.

116. Compounding of offences, administrative penalties

(1) Subject to subsection (4) the Council may, where it is satisfied that a person has committed an offence under this Act, and that person has in writing admitted to having committed the offence and expressed willingness that the offence be so dealt with, compound the offence by accepting on behalf of the Government from that person a sum of money of not less than the minimum penalty specified for the offence plus the fair market value of the fish caught illegally, and the sum when paid shall immediately be paid into the Fund.

(2) In compounding an offence, the Council shall take into account a report which may be prepared by the prosecutor as to the details of the offence for which that person would otherwise be charged and the minimum penalty level for the offence.

(3) In addition to the requirements of subsection (1), the Council shall require that a person who has previously committed an offence under this Act and seeks to have a current offence compounded shall pay not less than the minimum penalty plus ten percent of the minimum penalty for each offence previously committed.

(4) Compounding of an offence under this section shall be with the consent of the prosecutor.

(5) On compounding an offence under this section, the Council may order the release of an article seized under this Act or the proceeds of sale of the article on conditions determined by the Council, but the Council shall not order the release unless the penalties have been paid in full.

(6) The compounding of an offence under this section is valid on the payment of the fine or penalty determined by the Council, and the notification in writing on payment signed by the chairman of the Council and the offender, to the appropriate court.

(7) The compounding of an offence is not effective if the full amount of the penalty is not deposited with the Commission within thirty days of the decision, and the matter shall, in that event, revert to the Court.

(8) A person aggrieved by a decision of the Council may appeal to the High Court against a penalty imposed under this section.

(9) Where the Council compounds an offence under this section, the person concerned is not liable for prosecution for the offence.

(10) The Council may in writing assign the function conferred by this section to the Director.

117. Certificate evidence

The Director or a person designated in writing by the Director may give a certificate stating that

(a) a specified vessel was or was not, on a specified date, a local fishing vessel or a foreign fishing vessel;

(b) a specified vessel or person was or was not, on a specified date, the holder of a specified licence;

(c) a particular location or area of water was, on a specified date, within the fishery waters, or within a closed, limited, restricted or in any other way controlled area of the fishery waters, or an area of the fishery waters subject to specified conditions;

(d) an appended chart shows the boundaries, on a specified date, of the fishery waters, closed or limited areas or any other areas or zones delineated for a specified purpose;

(e) a particular item or piece of equipment is fishing gear;

(f) the death of or injury to a fish was caused in a particular manner;

(g) an appended document is a true copy of an approved charter agreement, an access arrangement or related agreement;

(h) a call sign, name or number is that of or allotted under a system of naming or numbering of vessels to a particular vessel; or

(i) a particular position or catch report, a copy of which is appended, was given in respect of a specified vessel.

118. Validity and procedures for certificates

(1) Unless the contrary is proved, a document purporting to be a certificate issued under section 117 shall be regarded a certificate duly issued under this Act.

(2) Where a certificate issued under section 117 is served on a defendant seven or more days before its production in court in proceedings under this Act, the certificate is, unless the contrary is proved, sufficient evidence of the facts averred in it.

(3) Where a certificate issued under section 117 is served on a defendant fourteen or more days before its production in court and the defendant does not, within seven days of the date of service, serve notice of objection in writing on the prosecutor, then the certificate is, unless the Court finds the defendant is unduly prejudiced by a failure to object, conclusive proof of the facts averred in it.

(4) Where an objection is notified under subsection (3) the certificate is, unless the contrary is proved, sufficient evidence of the facts averred in it.

(5) A certificate issued under section 117 shall be titled “Certificate made under section 117, Fisheries Act” and a certificate shall not be used as conclusive proof of the facts averred in it unless it is served with a copy of sections 117 and 118.

(6) An omission from or mistake made in a certificate issued under section 117 shall not render it invalid unless the Court considers that the omission or mistake is material to a matter in the proceedings concerned, or the defendant is unduly prejudiced thereby.

(7) Where in proceedings a certificate issued under section 117 is produced to the Court, the prosecution shall not be obliged to call the person who issued the certificate and the Court shall, where material, rely on the facts in the certificate unless the contrary is proved.

119. Certificate as to the location of a vessel

(1) Where in proceedings under this Act the place or area in which a vessel is alleged to have been at a particular date and time or during a particular period of time is material to an offence charged, then the place or area stated in a certificate given by an authorised officer is evidence, unless the contrary is proved, of the place or area in which the vessel was at the date and time or during the period of time stated.

(2) An authorised officer shall in a certificate issued under subsection (1) state

(a) the name, address, official position, country of appointment of the officer and the provision of the enactment under which the officer is appointed;

(b) the name and, if known, the call sign of the fishing vessel concerned;

(c) the place or area in which it is alleged the vessel was located;

(d) the date and time or period of time the vessel was in the place or area;

(e) the position fixing instruments used to fix the place or area stated in paragraph (c) and their accuracy within specified limits;

(f) a declaration that the officer checked the position fixing instruments a reasonable time before and after they were used to fix the position and they appeared to be working correctly; and

(g) if a position fixing instrument which is not judicially recognised as notoriously accurate, or a designated machine is used, a declaration that the officer checked the instrument as soon as possible after the time concerned against the instrument.

(3) Section 118 applies to a certificate issued under this section as if it had been a certificate issued under section 117 and a reference in the certificate to section 118 shall be read as a reference to this section.

(4) For the purposes of this section, an authorised officer includes surveillance officers and officers charged with similar responsibilities in other countries.

120. Designated machines

(1) The Minister may, by notice in the Gazette, designate a machine or a class of machines as a designated machine or machines.

(2) The readings of designated machines shall be admissible as evidence of the facts they aver if

(a) the readings were made by a competent operator of the machine, and

(b) the machine was checked for correct working at a reasonable time before and after the readings it is sought to adduce in evidence were made, and the machine appeared to be working correctly.

(3) A designated machine, when checked for correct working and read by a competent operator, shall, unless the contrary is proved, be presumed to give accurate readings within the manufacturer’s specified limits.

(4) The readings of designated machines may be made from a printout or as observed from a visual display unit.

(5) The machines referred to in subsection (1) must be capable wholly or partially in themselves of producing the readings concerned and not merely be receivers of information or data.

121. Photographic evidence

(1) Where a photograph is taken of a fishing or related activity and simultaneously the date and time and position from which the photograph is taken are superimposed on the photograph then it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved that the photograph was taken on the date, at the time and in the position so appearing.

(2) The presumption in subsection (1) arises only if

(a) the camera taking the photograph is connected directly to the instruments which provide the date, time and position concerned, and

(b) the instruments which provide the date, time and position are judicially recognised as being usually accurate or are designated machines or were checked as soon as possible after the taking of the photograph against the instruments.

(3) An authorised officer or an observer who takes a photograph of the kind described in subsection (1) may issue a certificate with the photograph attached and state

(a) the name, address, official position, country of appointment of the officer and the provision of the enactment under which the officer is appointed;

(b) the name and the call sign, if known, of a fishing vessel that appears in the photograph;

(c) the names of the camera, watch or clock or any other instruments, supplying the date and time and the position fixing instruments and a declaration that the officer checked those instruments a reasonable time before and after the taking of the photograph and, if necessary, in accordance with subsection (2) (b) and that they all appeared to be working correctly;

(d) the matters set out in subsection (2) (a);

(e) the accuracy of the fixing instrument used within specified limits; and

(f) the maximum possible distance and the direction of the subject of the photograph away from the camera at the time the photograph was taken.

(4) Section 118 applies to a certificate issued under this section as if it had been a certificate issued under section 117 and a reference in the certificate to section 117 shall be read as a reference to this section.

122. Presumptions

(1) A fish found on board a fishing vessel which has been used in the commission of an offence under this Act shall be presumed to have been caught during the commission of that offence, unless the contrary is proved.

(2) Where, in legal proceedings under this Act, the place in which an event is alleged to have taken place is in issue, the place stated in the relevant entry in the logbook or any other official record of an enforcement vessel or aircraft as being the place in which the event took place shall be presumed to be the place at which the event took place, unless the contrary is proved.

(3) Prima facie evidence of an entry in a logbook or any other official record of an enforcement vessel or aircraft may be given by the production of a written copy or extract of the entry certified by an authorised officer as a true copy or accurate extract.

(4) Where in legal proceedings relating to an offence under this Act

(a) an authorised officer gives evidence that the officer had reasonable grounds to believe that a fish to which the charge relates was taken in a specified area of the fishery waters, and

(b) the Court considers that, on the evidence the grounds are reasonable, the fish shall be presumed to have been so taken, unless the contrary is proved.

(5) Where in legal proceedings for an offence under this Act

(a) an authorised officer gives evidence that the officer had reasonable grounds to believe that a fish to which the charge relates was taken by the use of driftnets, and

(b) the Court considers that, on the evidence, the grounds are reasonable, the fish shall be presumed to have been so taken, unless the contrary is proved.

(6) Where information is given in respect of a fishing vessel under this Act or an access arrangement in relation to a fishing activity of a foreign fishing vessel, the information shall be presumed to have been given by the master, owner or charterer of the vessel concerned, unless it is proved it was not given by any of them.

(7) An entry in writing or any other mark in or on a log, chart or any other document required to be maintained under this Act or used to record the activities of a foreign fishing vessel shall be deemed to be that of the master, owner or charterer of the vessel.

123. Onus of proof

(1) Where, in proceedings under this Act, a person is charged with having committed an offence involving an act for which a licence, an authorisation or any other permission is required, the onus is on that person to prove that at the relevant time, the requisite licence or authorisation or other permission was held by that person.

(2) Where a person is charged with the contravention of section 61 (2) (b), the onus is on that person to prove that the entry into the fishery waters was for a purpose recognised by international law.

(3) Where a person is charged with the contravention of section 128, the onus is on that person to prove that the information given was true, complete and correct.

124. Destruction of evidence

shock device, explosive, poison or any other noxious substance, or any other thing with intent to avoid their seizure or the detection of an offence under this Act commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than

(a) $1,000 and not exceeding $100,000 in respect of a local industrial or semi-industrial fishing vessel or a foreign fishing vessel, or

(b) fifty penalty units and not exceeding five hundred penalty units in any other case.

125. Liability of master and officers of companies

(1) Where an offence under this Act is committed by a person on board or employed on a fishing vessel, the master of the vessel shall be deemed to have committed that offence.

(2) Where an offence under this Act is committed by a company or by a member of a partnership firm or business, every director, manager, secretary or other officer of that company directly connected with the activity or any other member of the partnership or other person concerned with the management of the firm or business shall be deemed to have committed the offence unless that person proves to the satisfaction of the Court that

(a) that person used due diligence to secure compliance with the Act, and

(b) the offence was committed without the knowledge, consent or connivance of that person.

126. Continuing offence

Each day of a continuing contravention of a provision of this Act constitutes a separate offence and the

Court before which a person is charged shall impose a penalty of not more than one percent of the relevant minimum penalty or a penalty, where applicable, within the maximum fine whichever is greater for each day during which the offence continues.

127. Banning order

(1) Where a person is convicted of an offence under this Act, the Court may in addition to any other penalty or forfeiture, order that for a period not exceeding five years that person is banned from going on or remaining aboard a fishing vessel in the fishery waters.

(2) A person who contravenes an order made under subsection (1) and a master of a fishing vessel who has aboard a person the master knows is banned under subsection (1), commits an offence and each person is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than

(a) $10,000 and not exceeding $100,000 in the case of a local industrial or semi-industrial fishing vessel or of a foreign fishing vessel, or

(b) fifty penalty units and not exceeding five hundred penalty units in any other case, or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding twelve months.

PART FIVE
Miscellaneous Provisions
128. Information documentation must be true, complete and correct

(1) An information required to be recorded, notified, communicated or reported pursuant to a requirement of this Act shall be true, complete and correct.

(2) A licence, certificate registration or any other document required to be obtained under this Act shall be obtained and held in its original and correct form as required under this Act.

(3) A change of circumstances which has the effect of rendering the information or documentation false, incomplete or misleading shall be notified to the appropriate authority immediately.

(4) A person who contravenes subsection (1), (2) or (3) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding

(a) $100,000 in respect of a local industrial or semi-industrial fishing vessel or a foreign fishing vessel, or

(b) five hundred penalty units in any other case.

129. Wilful damage to fishing vessel, gear or other fishing appliance

A person who wilfully damages or destroys a fishing vessel, gear or any other fishing appliance which belongs to another person is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than

(a) $50,000 and not exceeding $2 million where the offender is, or the offence is, committed in respect of a local industrial or semi-industrial fishing vessel or a foreign fishing vessel, or

(b) two hundred and fifty penalty units and not exceeding one thousand penalty units in any other case,

or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or to both the fine and the imprisonment and in addition shall fully compensate the aggrieved person for the damage or destruction, in the sum of money set by the Court or, in the case of compounding, set by the Commission.

130. Import and export of fish, compliance with Exchange Control Act

(1) A person shall not import into or export from the Republic fish in commercial quantity, unless that person has been granted a permit by the Minister on the advice of the Council.

(2) A permit granted under subsection (1) shall be in the form and be subject to the conditions determined by the Minister.

(3) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than $50,000 or more than $1 million or the value of the fish in American dollars, whichever is greater.

(4) Whereby a permit or an authorisation a person is permitted to export tuna or any other marine products originating from the country or the fishery waters, that person shall repatriate the foreign exchange obtained from the export in accordance with the Exchange Control Act, 1961 (Act 71).

(5) A person who contravenes subsection (4) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding three times the value of the export or not exceeding $2 million whichever is greater or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years.

131. Returns for import and export of fish or fish products

(1) A person who imports or exports fish or fish products shall furnish the Commission with returns in respect of the species, quantity and value of the fish within one month of the import or export, in the form and details directed by the Council.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than $1,000.

132. Transhipment to be supervised

(1) Unless authorised in writing by the Commission, a fishing vessel shall not be used for transhipment of fish in the fishery waters without the supervision of an authorised officer or under any other arrangement and conditions approved in advance by the Council.

(2) The master, owner or charterer of a vessel used in contravention of subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than

(a) $100,000 and not more than $2 million in respect of a foreign fishing vessel, or a local industrial or semi-industrial fishing vessel, or

(b) two hundred and fifty penalty units and not more than one thousand penalty units in the case of a canoe, and in addition to the fine, all the fish and fish products on the vessel shall be confiscated to the Republic.

133. Licence, landing requirements for transhipment and export of tuna

(1) Unless otherwise provided in this Act, a person shall not tranship or export tuna in or from the fishery waters without

(a) a licence or an authorisation issued or granted by the Minister on the recommendation of the Commission, and

(b) first landing all the tuna in the Republic.

(2) A person who acts contrary to subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than $10,000 and not exceeding $1 million.

(3) Regulations may be made to provide further for matters relating to tuna fishing.

134. Licensed fishing vessels prohibited from landing fish outside Ghana

(1) Unless otherwise authorised, the owner, master or operator of a fishing vessel registered in the Republic and licensed to fish in the fishery waters shall not land, tranship or discharge any fish outside the Republic, including the high seas.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than $10,000 and not more than $2 million in respect of a foreign fishing vessel or a local industrial or semi-industrial fishing vessel, or a fine not exceeding one thousand penalty units in the case of any other vessel, or three times the value of the catch, whichever is greater, and in addition the licence may be suspended or cancelled.

(3) A person who aids and abets another person in the contravention of subsection (1) shall be deemed to have contravened that subsection.

135. Possession of prohibited fishing gear

(1) Except otherwise provided in this Act, a person shall not, without a permission in writing from the Commission, possess or control fishing gear which is prohibited for use in the fishery waters, unless the gear is located at least two kilometres inland from a shoreline.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than

(a) $5,000 and not more than $500,000 in respect of a local industrial or semi-industrial vessel or a foreign fishing vessel, or

(b) fifty penalty units and not more than five hundred penalty units in any other case.

136. Research vessels

The Minister on the advice of the Council may exempt in writing for the purposes of research or scientific investigation a vessel or person from all or any of the provisions of this Act and shall, in making the exemption, impose the appropriate conditions.

137. General penalty

A person who contravenes a mandatory provision of this Act for which a penalty is not provided commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding

(a) $500,000 where the offender is or the offence is committed in relation to a foreign fishing vessel,

(b) $100,000 where the offender is or the offence is committed in relation to a local industrial or semi-industrial fishing vessel, or

(c) five hundred penalty units in any other case, and in addition the catch, fishing gear or any other apparatus or a combination of them involved in the commission of the offence may be forfeited and the fishing licence may be cancelled or suspended for a specified period.

138. Fines and forfeitures

(1) Despite the Fines (Penalty Units) Act, 2000 (Act 572) and any other enactment, fines in this Act in respect of foreign fishing vessels and local industrial and semi-industrial fishing vessels are expressed in American dollars but may be paid in cedi equivalent except that where the payment relates to a foreign fishing vessel the amount shall be paid in American dollars.

(2) Fines paid in cedis shall be based at the official Bank of Ghana exchange rate between the cedi and the American dollar on the date of payment.

(3) A property forfeited under this Act or the Regulations, shall vest in the Republic and money realised from the sale of forfeited property shall be paid into the Fund established under section 36 of this Act.

139. Regulations

(1) The Minister may, on the recommendations of the Council, by legislative instrument, make Regulations

(a) prescribing measures for the conservation, management, development, licensing and regulation of fisheries or a particular fishery, including total allowable catch and quota system as the Minister considers appropriate;

(b) for licensing a vessel or class or category of vessels to be used for fishing and related activities or any other purpose pursuant to this Act;

(c) for licensing or registration of fishing gear and any other equipment or devices used for fishing;

(d) prescribing the types and sizes of fishing gears and other fishing devices including the sizes of fishing nets that may be used for fishing, where they may be used and prohibited fishing nets;

(e) in respect of the manufacture, importation and sale of fishing nets;

(f) indicating landing requirements for a vessel or class or category of vessel or licence;

(g) on catching, loading, landing, handling, transhipping, transporting, possession and disposal of fish;

(h) relating to tuna fishing or a specified specie of fish;

(i) on the importation, export, distribution and marketing of fish and fish products;

(j) on the licensing, control and use of fish aggregate devices and the rights to the aggregated fish, and prescribing times and the minimum distance from the devices that a vessel may fish;

(k) prescribing standards and measures for the safety of artisanal fishing;

(l) prescribing matters relating to satellite monitoring of fishing activities;

(m) relating to aquaculture, to recreational fishing or to canoe fishing including markings and identity of canoes;

(n) requiring the provision of statistical and any other information related to fisheries;

(o) relating to the control, inspection and conditions of operation of fish processing establishments;

(p) on returns concerning fishing operations required to be submitted to the Commission by licensees;

(q) on licences and logbooks to be carried on board motor fishing vessels;

(r) for further conditions for fishing licences;

(s) prescribing conditions for the approval of charter agreements; and

(t) generally for the achievement of the purposes of this Act.

(2) The Minister for Transport and Communications in consultation with the Council may make Regulations providing for the

(a) examination and certification of skippers, second hands and engineers of fishing vessels;

(b) survey, registration and licensing of fishing vessels; and

(c) safety and marine radio equipment to be installed in motor fishing vessels.

(3) Regulations made under subsection (1) may

(a) impose in respect of a contravention of a provision of the Regulation a fine not exceeding $1 million in respect of local industrial or semi-industrial fishing vessels and foreign fishing vessels and a minimum fine of $200 in the case of a continuing offence for each day during which the offence is continued;

(b) impose a fine not exceeding five penalty units for a contravention of any of the Regulations by a canoe or any other artisanal operator; and

(c) provide that the catch, fishing vessel, fishing gear or apparatus or any other item involved in the contravention may be forfeited.

140. Interpretation

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,

“access arrangement” means a treaty, an agreement or arrangement entered into under section 64;

“agent” means a person or unit appointed by the Council to perform designated functions under this Act, or any other agent appointed in accordance with section 67;

“aquaculture” means an activity designed to cultivate or farm fish and any other living aquatic resources;

“artisanal fishing” means the traditional canoe fishing carried on by a citizen;

“Auditor-General” includes an auditor appointed by the Auditor-General;

“authorised officer” means a person appointed under section 95;

“beneficially owned” means for one’s own benefit and not as trustee or agent;

“canoe” means a planked dugout, or fabricated vessel which is propelled by means of sails, oars, paddles, poles, outboard engine or a combination of any of them;

“canoe support vessel” means a vessel which has entered into a contractual agreement with a group of canoes to fish for the vessel;

“carrier vessel” means a vessel that carries fish that has been fished by other vessels but does not fish itself;

“citizen” means a citizen of Ghana;

“closed season” means a period during which a ban is placed on fishing activities in respect of type of fish, area, zones, method of capture or the parameters specified in the notice;

“coastal waters” means that part of the fishery waters lying seaward from the baseline from which the territorial sea extends;

“commercial fishing” means a fishing operation resulting or intending or appearing to result in the sale or trade of a fish which may be taken, caught or harvested during the fishing operations, and does not include recreational fishing;

“competent authority” means the body or person vested with authority for the purpose concerned;

“Council” means the governing body of the Commission;

“Court” means a court of competent jurisdiction;

“Director” means the Director of Fisheries;

“drifting gear” means nets that drift or move at their set depth, on or near the surface under wind or current action;

“driftnet” means a net laid out in the sea or river with or without markers or floats or both designed or intended, whilst drifting in the prevailing current or tide, to entangle fish;

“driftnet fishing activities” includes fishing with the use of a driftnet and the related activities including transporting, transhipping and processing a driftnet catch, and provision of food, fuel and any other supplies for vessels used or outfitted for driftnet fishing;

“effort” means in relation to fishing, the time involved and frequency exercised in fishing activities;

“enforcement unit” means the Fisheries Monitoring Control, Surveillance and Enforcement Unit established by section 94;

“exclusive economic zone” means that area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea which does not extend beyond two hundred nautical miles from the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured;

“farming”, in relation to fish or any other marine vegetation, means the breeding, cultivating and rearing of fish or the cultivating of aquatic vegetation;

“fish” includes a living aquatic organism, plant or animal, and a fin-fish, shellfish, coral, reptile and marine mammal, but does not include aquatic birds;

“fish aggregating device” includes a man-made or partly man-made floating or semi-submerged device, or directly placed natural materials, whether anchored or not, intended for the purpose of aggregating fish, and a natural floating object on which a device has been placed to facilitate its location;

“fish processing” includes a process that adds value to or preserves the fish and the dismembering, cleaning, sorting, loining, freezing, canning, salting and any other process of preserving fish;

“fish processing establishment” means a place, other than a licensed fishing vessel where fish is canned, dried, gutted, salted, iced, chilled, frozen, smoked or otherwise processed for sale by wholesale in or outside the country;

“fishery” or “fisheries” means one or more stocks of fish or the operations based on those stocks which can be treated as a unit for purposes of conservation and management, taking into account geographical, scientific, technical, cultural, economic, recreational and any other relevant characteristics;

“fishery plan” means a plan for the management, development and conservation of fish; 

“fishery waters” includes the waters over which the Republic has fisheries jurisdiction or sovereign rights, including riverine systems, internal waters, territorial sea and exclusive economic zone and any other waters over which fisheries jurisdiction may be claimed from time to time;

“fishing” means,

(a) searching for, catching, taking or harvesting fish,

(b) the attempted searching for, catching, taking or harvesting of fish,

(c) engaging in any other activity which can reasonably be expected to result in the locating, catching, taking or harvesting of fish,

(d) placing, searching for or recovering a fish aggregating device or associated equipment including radio beacons,

(e) an operation at sea in support of or in preparation for an activity within the meaning of this heading, or

(f) the use of an aircraft in relation to an activity described in this definition; 

“fishing gear” means an equipment, implement or any other thing that can be used in the act of fishing, whether or not it is used in connection with a vessel, including a fishing net, rope, line, float, trap, hook, winch, boat or an aircraft;

“fishing licence” includes a fishing right;

“fishing vessel” includes a vessel, boat, ship or any other craft which is used for, equipped to be used for, or of a type that is normally used for

(a) fishing,

(b) the processing or storage of fish or fish products,

(c) the supply or support of vessels used for purposes described in paragraphs (a) or (b),

(d) the transportation of fish or fish products from the fishing grounds, or related activities, a canoe, motor fishing vessel and ancillary vessel, but does not include a vessel used for the transportation of fish or fish products to or from a port of the Republic as a part of its general cargo;

“fixed fishing gear” includes fishing gear deposited on or attached directly or indirectly to the water bed, fish traps, fishing stakes and anchored gill nets;

“foreign fishing vessel” means a fishing vessel other than a local industrial or semi-industrial fishing vessel or a canoe;

“functions” includes powers and duties;

“Fund” means the Fisheries Development Fund established under section 36;

“Government” means the Government of the Republic of Ghana;

“industrial fishing vessel” means a motor fishing vessel equipped with hydraulic equipment and using industrial gears;

“inshore exclusion zone” means that area of the fishery waters described in section 81 (1);

“large local semi-industrial vessel” means a local semi-industrial vessel of a length of ten metres or more;

“length” in relation to a vessel means the overall length from bow to stern;

“licensed fishing vessel” means a fishing vessel specified in a valid fishing licence;

“local fishing licence” means a fishing licence issued under this Act in respect of a local industrial or semi-industrial fishing vessel and a licence for a canoe;

“local fishing vessel” means a fishing vessel as described in section 47 or 52 (2) and artisanal and motor vessels;

“marine reserve” means a reserve established in the fishery waters in accordance with this Act;

“master”, in relation to a fishing vessel, means the person for the time being in command or apparently in charge of that vessel;

“Minister” means the Minister responsible for Fisheries;

“Ministry” means the Ministry charged with responsibility for Fishery;

“moving gear” means a fishing gear dragged, towed or moved by any means for the purpose of fishing;

“motor fishing vessel” means a fishing vessel other than a canoe which is, at relevant times, constructed or adapted for the purpose of fishing and equipped with one or more inboard engines for the purpose of moving through water;

“operator” includes a person who is in charge of, directs or controls a vessel, the owner, charterer and master;

“overfishing” means operating a fishery beyond the level of exploitation necessary to ensure sustainable yield of the fishery resources;

“owner”, in relation to a fishing vessel, includes a person exercising or discharging or claiming the right of accepting the obligation to exercise or discharge any of the functions of an owner whether on behalf of the owner or on behalf of another and a person who is the owner jointly with any other person or persons and a manager, director or secretary of a body corporate or company, but does not include a person in possession under a charter-party;

“qualified company” means a company or partnership,

(a) registered under the Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179) or with its principal place of business in the Republic, and

(b) the shares in which are beneficially owned wholly by the Government, a citizen, a public corporation or an association of any of them;

“recreational fishing” means fishing done for leisure and not for the purpose of subsistence, barter or sale of fish;

“Regulations” means the relevant Regulations made under this Act;

“related activities” includes doing, attempting or preparing to do or having done any of the following

(a) transhipment,

(b) storing, processing or transporting fish taken from the fishery waters up to the time the fish is first landed, or

(c) refuelling or supplying fishing vessels or performing any other activities in support of fishing operations;

“Republic” means the Republic of Ghana;

“riverine system” includes a natural drainage system comprising rivers and their tributaries which originate from the sources and terminate at their estuaries, and lagoon, lake, an impoundment, a dam or weir artificially created on the riverine system;

“seaworthiness” means the fitness of a vessel with reference to the condition of its hull and machinery, the extent of its fuel and provisions, supply, the quality of its officers and crew, and its adaptability for the type of voyage proposed;

“small local semi-industrial vessel” means a local fishing vessel of a length below ten metres;

“seine” includes fishing gear in the form of a net which is used to capture fish by surrounding them and pulling them vertically or horizontally from the water, and beach seine, purse seine and ring nets;

“semi-industrial vessel” means a motor fishing vessel powered by an inboard engine, and excludes artisanal fishing vessels and industrial vessels as defined in this section;

“sustainable yield” means the quantity of fish that can be taken from the resource from year to year without danger of collapse or stock depletion;

“support vessel” means a vessel carrying out operations in connection with and in support of a fishing vessel, including supply and any other fishing activities;

“surveillance officer” includes an authorised officer of a vessel or an aircraft used for the enforcement of this Act;

“towing gear” means fishing gear with a bag or cod-end which is towed at the bottom or mid-water by a motor fishing vessel and used for the purpose of taking fish;

“transhipment” means transferring a fish or fish products to or from a vessel, whether or not the fish has first been taken on board the vessel from which the fish is passed;

“trial fishing operations” means fishing operations undertaken over a limited period of time by virtue of section 65 for the purpose of testing the feasibility of commercial fishing operations with a view to the establishment of fishing operations locally or in the region of the operations;

“tuna” includes tuna-like species of fish and sharks;

“vessel” means a fishing vessel;

“zone” means the inshore economic zone declared under section 81.

141. Repeal and saving

(1) The Fisheries Law, 1991 (P.N.D.C.L. 256) other than Part One, (Building and Importation of Motor Fishing Vessels) and the Fisheries Commission Act, 1993 (Act 457) are hereby repealed.

(1A) Part One (Building and Importation of Motor Fishing Vessels) of the Fisheries Law, 1991

  (P.N.D.C.L. 256) provides as follows:

1. Licence for building of motor fishing vessels, etc.

(1) No person shall undertake in Ghana the building of any motor fishing vessel unless he has been granted a licence to do so by the Secretary for Industries in consultation with the Secretaries for Transport and Communications and Agriculture.

(2) The design for the building of a motor fishing vessel shall be subject to the approval of the Shipping Commissioner.

(3) The building of any motor fishing vessel in Ghana shall be supervised by a surveyor employed by the person who commissioned the building of the vessel and it shall be the duty of such employer to submit periodic progress reports of the work on the vessel to the Shipping Commissioner.

(4) No person shall sell or offer for sale, whether within or outside Ghana, any new motor fishing vessel or craft built in Ghana unless there has been issued in respect of that vessel a certificate of seaworthiness by the Shipping Commissioner in the prescribed form.

(5) The Secretary for Transport and Communications may in consultation with the Secretary by legislative instrument make regulations prescribing the standards and specifications for the design and construction of different types of motor fishing vessels or craft and also for the forms of applications, licence and certificate of seaworthiness and fees payable for such licence and certificate.

(6) Any person who contravenes subsection (1), (2), (3) or (4) of this section shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ¢500,00.00 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both; and in addition the Court may order the forfeiture of the vessel in respect of which the offence was committed.

  1. Importation of foreign built motor fishing vessels

(1) No person shall—

(a) without the prior approval in writing granted by the Secretary on the advice of the Secretary responsible for Transport and Communications import into Ghana any motor fishing vessel; or

(b) import into Ghana any motor fishing vessel which is more than five years of age from the date of construction or more than seven years from the date of construction in the case of a tuna fishing vessel.

(2) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) of this section shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ¢500,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or to both; and in addition the Court may order the forfeiture of the vessel in respect of which the offence was committed”

(2)  Despite the repeal under subsection (1) the Regulations, a notice, licence, certificate, permit, or any other authorisation made, given, or issued under any of the repealed enactments shall, unless inconsistent with this Act, continue to have effect as if made, given or issued under this Act.

(3) Tuna vessels which, on the commencement of this Act, hold valid licences issued under the repealed enactment shall comply with section 47 (1) (b) of this Act within six months of the coming into force of this Act.

(4) The Fisheries Commission in existence at the commencement of this Act shall, on the appointment of the members of the Council under this Act, cease to exist.

(5) On the coming into force of this Act the Fisheries Department of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture shall constitute a secretariat of the Commission established under section 1 of this Act.

(6) The rights, assets, property, obligations, liabilities and staff of the Fisheries Department of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Fisheries Commission in existence immediately before the coming into force of this Act are hereby transferred to the Commission established under section 1 of this Act.

Schedule

AREA OF INSHORE ECONOMIC ZONE

[Section 81 (1)]

The coastal waters between the coastline and the 30-metre isobath or the 6 nautical miles offshore limit whichever is farther.

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