Mavis Hawa Koomson addressing the fishers and fish processors. Picture: BENJAMIN XORNAM GLOVER
Mavis Hawa Koomson addressing the fishers and fish processors. Picture: BENJAMIN XORNAM GLOVER
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Provide land for automated premix fuel vending machine

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mavis Hawa Koomson, has issued an ultimatum to the Tema Canoe Landing Basin to provide space for the installation of an automated premix fuel vending machine to stop diversion and hoarding of the product.

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Mrs Koomson, who was answering questions from fish processors at the Tema Canoe Basin on the inadequate and inequitable distribution of premix fuel to artisanal fishers at Tema, indicated that the inability of the leadership of the Tema Canoe Landing Basin to secure land for the installation of the premix vending machine was responsible for the shortage of premix fuel in the area.

Ultimatum

The Minister gave the ultimatum last Thursday when she presented fishing closed-season relief items to artisanal fishers and fish processors at the Tema Canoe Landing Beach. 

She warned that failure to provide space for the installation of the vending machine as soon as possible could result in the curtailment of premix fuel supply to the basin.

The items, which included bags of rice, cartons of cooking oil and canned fish, as well as basins and wire meshes were to cushion the beneficiaries to cope with the fishing closed season.

She said in communities, such as Nungua, Akplabanya, Chorkor and Elmina, where the automated machines had been installed, the issue of corruption and protocol distribution of premix fuel had been curtailed and fishers were experiencing increased accessibility of the product.

The Automated Premix Fuel Distribution System is a fuel management and tank gauging system designed to enhance the effective and efficient management of premix fuel. To access the premix fuel, a fisherman presents the card reader on which the quantity of fuel allocated is loaded. Once authorisation is granted, the card is debited and the pump starts dispensing.

Science and data

Mrs Koomson said the closed season was based on scientific advice and its implementation was in consultation with the various fisheries associations. 

She commended the fishermen for observing the close season voluntarily and for adhering to the directives of the Ministry.

“I have told the fishers not to listen to those who say they want to cancel the closed season. If they can cancel, they would have cancelled that of the trawlers because it is the trawlers that are giving us problems,” she said.

Mrs Koomson said when she assumed office, she met 76 trawlers. However, currently, there are only 41 trawlers that are functional due to measures put in place by the Ministry, adding that she was committed to working towards curbing overfishing, reducing fishing pressure, restoring overexploited fish stocks and replenishing dwindling fish populations.

Sustainable livelihoods

Mrs Koomson said as part of efforts to promote sustainable livelihoods for fishers, the Ministry and its partners, including the Ghana Fisheries Recovery Activity, had launched alternative livelihood training programmes.

She said last year, about 5,000 fishers in four regions were trained in various skills such as masonry, carpentry, dressmaking, hairdressing, electronics and auto engineering. 

She said this year, the training had been expanded to cover 8,000 fishers. However, the Ministry had decided to complement the ongoing support to help trainees establish their own businesses and generate income from their trades, as a result of which the Ministry ordered a number of sewing machines and hair dryers to support livelihood training programmes.

She said by the end of August this year, the Ministry would take delivery of several outboard motors for the fishermen at subsidised prices, all aimed at supporting the sector.

The National Coordinator of the Fisheries Enforcement Unit, Commodore Francis A. Nyarko, said most fishermen use monofilament net lights, dynamite, explosives and small nets to overfish and, therefore, cautioned fishermen to desist from using such gears.

She warned that the FEU would arrest culprits who flouted the fishing regulations through the use of unauthorised fishing methods.

A chief fisherman at Tema, Nii Adjierteh Mator III, said the leadership of the Landing Beach Committee would intensify efforts in securing space to facilitate the installation of automated premix fuel vending machines to address the persistent issues of artificial shortages and hoarding of premix fuel.

Nii Adjierteh Mator III also called for a ban on the sale and importation of monofilament nets on the market.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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