As part of activities to mark this year's World Oceans Day (WOD), fishermen in the Central Region have called on government to sanitise all forms of illegalities in the fishing industry on the country's seas.
They said if efforts at restoring fishery stocks were to be successful, enforcement agencies must work harder to particularly check the activities of trawlers who destroy the nets of artisanal fishermen.
The fishermen were speaking to members of the Journalists for Responsible Fisheries and Environment (JRFE) during an outreach trip to some fishing communities in the Central Region to mark the day last Friday.
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The trip, which was organised with support from the Earth Journalism Network (EJN) was to afford the journalists to find at first hand the problems facing fisher folks and how to enhance their fishing activities.
Kofi Preh, a fisherman at Moree, said in an interview that illegal transhipment of fish popularly called “saiko” is a major problem facing the fishermen in the area.
“We can’t get much at sea. We go to sea and back with empty nets or with no nets at all. The trawlers scrap the seabed and destroy our nets along with the catch,” he stated.
He said to be able to help keep their livelihoods and help the fishing trade from imminent collapse, it was important to deal with the activities of illegal transhipment of fish.
Another fisherman who identified himself only as Kweku said government must show more commitment to working to stop other illegalities in the sea, including the use of light and chemicals for fishing.
According to him, the use of light and chemicals for fishing greatly affect the sea’s resource.
Journalists interacting with Kojo Preh at the Morse beach
The Chief Fisherman of Moree Eteui, Nana Mensah Bonsu called on fishermen to desist from negative practices, including the use of chemicals and light.
He also called on the district assemblies, particularly in coastal areas to enact laws to help check the indiscriminate wining of sand along the beaches.
Nana Bonsu further called for the construction of landing beaches to ensure safe landing for fishermen.
Another fisherman at Elmina, Kofi Badu said Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing was affecting the fishing profession.
He said the use of dynamite, light fishing, carbide and mono-filament net in fishing resulted in most of the fishes brought to the shore dead and discoloured, with broken flesh and sunken eyes, indications that they were not fresh.
He, therefore, called on the government to ensure that measures instituted to control IUU are strictly followed in order to benefit fishermen.