Chorkor fishermen welcome ban on fishing

BY: Emmanuel Quaye
Nii Clottey addressing the media
Nii Clottey addressing the media

Fishermen at Chorkor in Accra have welcomed the decision by the government to ban fishing from August 7 this year to help replenish the fish stock in Ghana’s marine waters.

They said the excessive pressure and over-exploitation of fish, especially through illegal methods, had negatively affected their incomes.

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The spokesperson for the Chorkor local fishermen, Nii Clottey, who was speaking at a press conference in Accra, said it was now difficult for them to get enough fish in the sea to sell to cater for their families.

He said as a result, they were unable to pay back loans some of them had contracted to finance their fishing business and that the situation had existed for over 20 years now.


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Nii Clottey, therefore, described the decision by the government as a bold initiative that needed the support of all members and other stakeholders to succeed for their own benefit.

Read also: Fishing season closes August 7

He, therefore, wondered why the Minority in Parliament was kicking against it.

"Some of us were arrested, beaten and prosecuted some years ago when we hit the streets to protest about our plight," the spokesperson claimed.

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Nii Clottey stressed that none of the fishermen at Chorkor and its environs would participate in any demonstrations organised by those who engage in illegal fishing.

He said those who would be engaged in illegal fishing during the ban on fishing should be arrested and prosecuted accordingly.

Background

Last Friday, the government announced that the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MOFAD) and the Fisheries Commission (FC) will from August 7 to September 4 this year close the season for fishing to help reduce the excessive pressure and over-exploitation of fish stocks in Ghana’s marine waters.

The move forms part of measures to regenerate Ghana's fast depleting fish stocks and will affect all fleets, including artisanal fishing (except tuna fleets).

According to scientific research, one fish can lay over 70,000 eggs during the spawning seasons.

Minority reaction

However, the Minority in Parliament last Tuesday reacted to the news and urged the government to reverse the moratorium since it would affect the fortunes of fishers in the country.

Besides, they said the ban was also illegal since it was only the Fisheries Commission that had the legal mandate per the Fisheries Act to ban fishing.

The Ranking Member on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs Committee of Parliament, Mr Eric Opoku, said "the ban on fishing in the entire economic exclusive zone (EEZ) is a practical display of insensitivity to the plight of our hardworking fishers and must be reversed forthwith."