Tema fishermen anticipate bumper harvest

BY: Samuel K. Obour

The Tema fishing harbour canoe beach has, since Monday, livened up as most of the fishermen returned from their fishing expedition with various species of fish, dominated by anchovies, which indicated visible signs of a bumper harvest.

Some returned with over one hundred crates of fish, which was said to be reasonable for the beginning of the season.

Women fisher folk were busy drying anchovies while others spread them with brooms.

The catch, apart from anchovies - popularly known as ‘keta school boys, was made up of sizeable ‘emule’, ‘tsile’ and other species such as the cropper and small and medium-size red fish.

Fishermen in Tema have for the past six years not experienced a bumper harvest, though the seasons started well with anchovies but were not sustained.

In the absence of fresh canoe fish, the short fall was covered up with imported fish from areas including Mauritania, South America, Spain, Norway, Gabon and Guinea, among others.

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Fish of different species, including tuna, red fish, cassava fish, cropper, salmon, among others, were imported  to fill the market gap.

Speaking to some fishermen, who had  returned from fishing, they claimed that the moon was bright and expected  it to dim, within which period they would increase their catch.

They claimed that the quantity of crates of fish landed in the first three days was a record achievement to start the season with and expressed hope for a bumper season.

According to the fishermen, they had not landed anchovies for some years now, saying, “they are species which show the way to a good catch”.

“Last year and the preceding years, we had hopes of bumper catch but it passed without success,” they claimed.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Chief Fisherman of Ashaiman, Nii Adjierteh Mator, said the fishermen were expecting to hit the season in the next two weeks.

He said the season was expected to last between July and September before it passed on, hoping that the canoe beaches would experience their share of landing fish.

Nii Mator, however, expressed fears that negative tendencies could affect the season and send away the fish.

He explained that some vessels, known as ‘China China’, were noted for straying into the grounds of local fishermen and trawling, leaving nothing left for the canoe fishermen.

He described the pre-mix situation as “just alright in cost and availability” to the fishermen.

Nii Mator stated that fishermen in Tema had made several suggestions to the  government to help achieve the objective of flooding the market with abundant fish.

Nii Mator said the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Association had decided to take measures to dismiss any member of the association who would be found engaging in negative fishing practices such as the use of light, undersize net, dynamites  and others.

With the showing  up of  the anchovies, people in the industry have the feeling that the season might be good but some people have doubts about it  because it had been re-occurring without success over the last six years.

By Rose Hayford Darko/Daily Graphic/Ghana