My life is under threat – Deputy Fisheries Minister

BY: Shirley Asiedu-Addo

The Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mr Francis Ato Cudjoe has expressed worry over threats on his life for his “loud mouth” on saiko issues.

Saiko is the illegal transhipment of fish at sea.

Mr Cudjoe at a ceremony to inaugurate a new fish processing facility at Elmina on Tuesday said he has received threats by some people who claim to come from Elmina.

The facility was constructed by the Central and Western Fishmongers Improvement Association with support from the Sustianable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Threats

Mr Cudjoe said he received calls on Tuesday morning and the callers accused him of collapsing the saiko business and getting them out of job.


He said the callers further cautioned him to stop interfering in the saiko business.

Mr Cudjoe, however, noted that knowing the effects of the illegal transhipment of fish at sea, he would support every effort taken by the ministry to curb the practice.

Trawler control

Mr Cudjoe, therefore, stated that as part of measures to curb the practice, trawlers would now have to officially declare as stated in the laws governing trawling in the country.

He indicated that the activities of trawlers were also to be streamlined saying, the number of trawlers on the seas at any given time would be scheduled.

“Half the number of trawlers operating would be allowed in the seas at any given time,” he said.

Mr Cujoe noted that the ministry would soon announce a month-long closed season for all types of fishermen to help replete the depleted fishery stocks.

He hinted that government had instituted a more pragmatic efforts to halt the chaos on the seas to rebuild the depleted stocks.

He appealed to all collaborating stakeholders to support government’s efforts to manage the seas resources.

Commendation

Mr Cudjoe commended CEWEFIA and the USAID for their efforts at improving fish processing, pointing out that it would make processed fish marketable even internationally.

He called on all collaborating partners to support efforts in sanitizing the fishing industry.