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Journalists for Responsible Fisheries and Environment calls on govt to end ‘saiko’

BY: Zadok Kwame Gyesi
File photo
File photo

The Journalists for Responsible Fisheries and Environment (JRFE), a network of Ghanaian journalists promoting responsible fishing on Ghana’s waters, is calling on the government to as a matter of urgency stop illegal transshipment of fish at sea.

The JRFE believes that the practice, which is popularly known as “Saiko”, if not stopped immediately will threaten the livelihoods of many artisanal fishers at the country’s coastal communities.

The group in a statement issued and signed by its Executive Director, Kingsley Nana Buadu, on Monday, August 17, 2020, said “The JRFE is worried about how the livelihoods of artisanal fishers in the four coastal regions of Ghana, are being affected with the wanton disregard for the fisheries laws in Ghana by some industrial trawlers, especially in these times of COVID-19.”

According to him, “Saiko” is threatening the jobs and food security of the fishing communities and Ghana’s economy in general.”

He noted that although the country’s laws forbid the practice of saiko, some trawlers licensed to fish on Ghana’s waters engaged in the practice with impunity, hence promoting and encouraging the practice.

“Some of these trawlers have been and are still engaging in the transhipment of fish at sea which the country’s fisheries laws forbid. The worrying aspect is that, they target species meant to be caught by local fishers, freeze them and then resell to the fishermen for profit,” Nana Boadu explained.

He said considering the fact that, saiko has contributed to the decline and near collapse of the small pelagic stocks such as sardinella, chub mackerel and anchovies, it is necessary for the government to take decisive action against the practice.

He also called on the government to stop other illegal fishing activities such as “over fishing and overcapacity, light fishing and fishing with chemicals to help save the lives of local fishers.”


Below is the statement

Press Release

The Journalists for Responsible Fisheries and Environment (JRFE), is calling on government of Ghana to end illegal transhipment of fish at sea popularly known as “Saiko” and help better the lives of artisanal fishers.

The JRFE is worried about how the livelihoods of artisanal fishers in the four coastal regions of Ghana, are being affected with the wanton disregard for the fisheries laws in Ghana by some industrial trawlers, especially in these times of COVID-19.

In particular, the JRFE shares in the concerns of fishermen that has led to a series of agitations across a number of coastal communities in the country in recent times.

Some of these trawlers have been and are still engaging in the transhipment of fish at sea which the country’s fisheries laws forbid. The worrying aspect is that, they target species meant to be caught by local fishers, freeze them and then resell to the fishermen for profit.

Subsides less useful

This is rendering the government’s support for fishermen in terms of giving out subsidized outboard motors and premix fuel, less useful.

This is because these fishers spend hours on sea but return with little or no catch. Both the Fisheries Act 2002, Act 625 Section 132 and the Fisheries Regulations 2010 (Regulation 33) clearly prohibit Saiko.

This illegality is undermining government’s efforts to better the lives of local fishers through fishing which serves as a source of livelihood for over 2.7 million Ghanaians.

“Saiko” is threatening the jobs and food security of the fishing communities and Ghana’s economy in general.

In 2019, fisheries scientists warned that Ghana is likely to lose fish stocks in the near future in the marine waters and put food security and goals for the economic growth and poverty reduction in fishing communities at risk. The chairman of the Scientific and Technical Working Group for the Ghana Sustainable

Fisheries Management Project (SFMP), Professor Kobina Yankson, has cautioned that Ghana is facing imminent fish stock depletion unless something drastic is done to save the industry.

Call

Considering the fact that, “Saiko” has contributed to the decline and near collapse of the small pelagic stocks such as sardinella, chub mackerel and anchovies, JRFE calls on the government of Ghana to as a matter of urgency end “Saiko and other illegal fishing activities such as over fishing and overcapacity, light fishing and fishing with chemicals to help save the lives of local fishers.

The time for the country to act is now. It is time to save the fisheries sector. Ending saiko in Ghana means, the country is greatly contributing to the achievement of the targets set under the Sustainable Development Goal 14 - Life Below Water.

JRFE

JRFE is a community of journalists committed to promoting sustainable fisheires and environment through effective reportage.

Signed
Executive Director of JRFE
Kingsley Nana Buadu
(0243335705)