There will be a severe shortage of fish in Ghana if Chinese fishermen operating in Ghana’s territorial waters are banned.
This is the assertion by the Managing Director of the semi-industrial fishing company, Onyame Fisheries, Joe Onyame, who says about 90 percent of fish consumed in the country are from Chinese fisher folks in the country.
According to him, the locals do not possess the requisite capital and skill to buy and operate vessels used by the Chinese to harvest fish from the sea for consumption. “[If the Chinese are banned], it means that we would have to import every fish that we consume, you go to the fishing harbor and check, it used to be the Koreans and they are gone and now the Chinese are in.”
There are growing concerns about the invasion of Ghana’s waters by foreign nationals including Chinese who are using sophisticated methods of depleting the fish stock in the sea.
Some have suggested that government adopts a measure to ban them from engaging in fishing in the country, to protect local fishermen. But Mr. Onyame disagrees that will help.
He explained that, the kind of fishing adopted by fisher-folk in the country, put them in a disadvantaged position to effectively fish to meet the local consumption demand.
“You look at the quantum of fish they [local fisher-folk] bring, and the demand for the fish in the entire country. They lack the technology. When you go to places in Asia, never would you say anyone using what we have here, the Yamaha for fishing. For our fishing we’ve got everything wrong,” he said.
“We don’t use Petrol for fishing because it is expensive; you use Diesel because for fishing, you need power, not speed. We’ve gotten it totally wrong so our fishermen spend a lot of money to buy the fuel, they go, they don’t get anything and it becomes a new debt,” he added.
Meanwhile, a fishing industry analyst, Richter Nii Amarteyfio, has called on banks in Ghana to offer affordable loans to local fishermen to enable them to venture into industrial fishing which is more profitable and will enable them to harvest more fish.
The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, has said her outfit is putting in place measures to regulate the operations of artisanal fishers in reducing the country’s fish supply deficit.
In her view, the inadequate production has led to an annual deficit of about fifty percent; the equivalent of about 600,000 metric tonnes of fish.
This is against the estimated annual demand of one million metric tonnes of fish.