The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye has said the 18 persons who were arrested for engaging in illegal fishing will be processed for court soon.
The fishermen were busted during an operation by the fisheries enforcement unit over the weekend.
The Minister in an interview with Citi News reiterated the importance of responsible fishing practices saying, illegal fishing does not only pose a threat to the consumers but also affects the country’s economy negatively.
“They were taken to the harbour police station and they were processed. Yesterday, I called the crime officer and he said they were processing them for court.”
On why she joined the navy on the operation to effect the arrests, the Minister said: “I had to take this trip with the Navy because I wanted to send a very strong signal to all fishermen.”
Illegal fishing by foreign trawlers is said to be costing the country’s economy t ens of millions of dollars a year, according to researchers.
An investigation published on Monday by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) claims that “saiko” fishing, whereby trawlers target the normal catch of Ghanaian canoe fishers and sell it back to fishing communities at a profit, landed approximately 100,000 tonnes of fish in 2017, worth $50m (£40m) when sold at sea and up to $81m when sold at port.
The practice is precipitating the collapse of Ghana’s staple fish stock – small pelagic fish such as sardinella, a crucial protein in the local diet. Scientists have warned that stocks could be completely destroyed as early as 2020, said EJF’s executive director, Steve Trent.