Ghana - Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Madam Elizabeth Afoley Quaye
The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Madam Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, has refuted claims that she had purportedly encouraged a group of fishermen to undertake illegal fishing activity popularly known as “ saiko”.
In October last year, reports emerged that the Minister in a closed-door meeting with some selected fishermen had given the green light for them to engage in the illegal practice.
However, reacting to the reports almost a year later, the sector Minister debunked the reports and called for better training for media practitioners on fishing to equip them with the right skills to enhance their reportage on the sector.
Speaking at a close session of a three-day National Conference on Fisheries and Coastal Environment in Accra, Madam Afoley Quaye said: “My focus has always been to ensure that there is a revamp of stocks, and there is sanitization of the fishery sector.
“But being accused of going to talk to fishermen to go back and do saiko when I know that it is the juvenile fishes that they are harvesting which is also causing the dwindling of our stocks, I couldn’t have done that,” she stated.
She, therefore, called for collaborative efforts between stakeholders and urged fishermen to police each other to help regulate the sector and flush out illegal fisher folks.
She said the public should commend the Ministry for the policies it had initiated to ensure a revamp of the sector.
Madam Afoley Quaye said for 17 years after the passage of the Fisheries Act, the Closed Season was never implemented, especially for all fleets; a situation she noted had had an immense adverse effect on the dwindling of fish stock and the industry at large.