Abandze (C/R), Nov. 06, GNA – Contrary to reports that the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture had legalise transhipment, known as “Saiko”, Corporal Agyemang Opambour, member of the Western Command Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) reiterated that the practice was illegal on Ghanaian waters.
He said there had not been any official communication from the Ministry to the FEU that the practice had been legalised in the country.
However, the local fishermen who engaged in light fishing and other IUU blamed the saiko practitioners for not allowing the fishes to swim over to their catchment areas where they could get enough into their nets.
At a fishermen’s forum organised by the Abandze Traditional Council, Corporal Opambour said Ghana had extensive policy and regulatory framework governing fisheries and they all abhorred illegal fishing including the saiko.
The forum facilitated by Friends of the Nation (FoN) with support from the Far Ban Bo Project and funded by the European Union formed part of a weeklong activity to mark this year’s Okyir festival of the chiefs and people of Abandze in the Mfantseman Municipality of the Central Region
Corporal Opambour urged the fishermen to voluntarily comply with fishing laws and regulations and see the sea as their own property and sacrifice to save their livelihood from collapse.
Nana Ama Essuon, the ‘Konkohemaa’ (sales queen) of Abandze, said the fishing community would have no excuse to kick against the close season in 2019 because enough announcements have been made.
“Personally, I was not happy when the close season was rescheduled for next year. But the government has assured that it will surely be implemented in 2019”
She recounted events of past decades saying the fisheries sector had witnessed enormous decline and it required pragmatic measures to save the sea from total collapse because the dwindling fish stock was already making life difficult for them.
“We the fishmongers are always making losses because when our fishermen go to sea, the catch they bring is inadequate”.
Nana Ama Essuon advised fishing communities to make adequate preparation for the proposed 2019 close season.
In June this year, the government announced a close season, which was to be effected in August this year, banning all fishing activities as part of measures to boost the fish stock in Ghana’s marine waters.
This received mixed reactions from fisheries stakeholders particularly, fishermen who argued that they were not consulted before the announcement, further indicating that August was the bumper season and if the ban was implemented, it will leave them impoverished.
The Government eventually bowed to the concerns raised by the fisher folks and postponed the close season to 2019.
Nana Arthur Norman, Chief Fisherman of Abandze encouraged his fishermen to practice responsible fishing and urged all stakeholders to play their respective roles in the efforts to rebuild the depleted stock.
This report was produced in collaboration with Earth journalism Network for the West Africa Fisheries Journalism Project, a version of this story was published in Ghana News Agency