Fishermen and fishing groups across the country have unanimously agreed to resist any move by government to politicize solutions to the many challenges confronting the sector.
They say the combination of factors that have bedevilled the sector over the past two decades needs no interference from political hands particularly with dealing with people who break fishing laws.
Speaking at a press conference organized jointly by Friends of the Nation, the Industrial Trawlers Association of Ghana, National Fish Processors Association, and the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council in Takoradi, secretary for the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council Mike Abaka-Edu noted that “the rigorous enforcement of fisheries laws will contribute to improving the industry and rebuild stock…when politicians do not interfere in the actions of the Fisheries Enforcement Unit. This will ensure that culprits who flout fisheries laws are dealt with.”
The group bemoaned the rise of the use of harmful chemicals such as detergents, carbide, dynamite and other unapproved methods for fishing, the over politicisation of the sale of premix fuel and the “order from above” syndrome which has characterised the implementation of fishing laws.
“The distribution and sale of pre-mix fuel should be timely and devoid of partisan politics. Political party members should not be given the power to control the sale of the fuel so as to eliminate the issue of black market on shore and the coastal areas. Landing Beach Committees should be most accountable by preparing and disseminating quarterly reports on their sale to avoid misappropriation of funds,” Mike Abaka Edu added.
The group reminded the NPP government to honour its fisheries promises in its 2016 manifesto to “eliminate import duties on fishing equipment…We recommend that this promise be fulfilled in the 2017 budget statement and economic policy. We appreciate the government’s promise to place local fisher folks directly in charge of subsidized inputs through local designated outputs”.
Other recommendations from the group included the termination of distribution of subsidized fishing inputs through MMDAs. “This should be done through chief fishermen and Konkohemaa.”