The USAID Sustainable Fishing Management Programme (SFMP) COVID-19 Project has awarded three fish landing beaches in coastal Volta for adhering to the COVID-19 safety protocols.
Aklorbordzi (Anloga District), Adzido (Keta Municipality) and Hedzranawo (Ketu South Municipality) received awards as most demonstrative fish landing beaches out of 48 in all three districts as winners for the month of November, 2020.
Each Landing Beach Committee (LBC) received 10 plastic chairs, a plaque/citation, three project-branded tee-shirts and some reading materials on sustainable fishing.
Mr Kwesi Randolph Johnson, the Project Officer, Volta Region, at a brief ceremony to present the awards, congratulated the LBCs for the achievement and called on them to strive to successfully combat COVID-19.
He charged winners not to relent on the safety measures to retain their title for the ensuing months, explaining that the pilot project was still running till March 2021.
“The three places were selected based on the observations we made on announced and several unannounced and quiet visits to all the landing beaches to interact with site advocates, fisher leaders and fishermen/processors,” Mr Johnson said.
“Also, we considered responses/feedback from folks and how they demonstrated their understanding of fishing issues, their adherence to the COVID-19 protocols (like using facemasks regularly and correctly, washing hands, social distancing) and general cleanliness of the beach and immediate surroundings.”
Mr Johnson appealed to fishers to comply with fisheries laws and not wait for marine police or naval officers to force them into compliance saying, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing could result in depletion of the fish stock, destruction of marine ecosystem and poverty.
Mr Alfred Kordzo Fiagbenya, a community leader at Woe-Aklorbordzi, said the award would spur them on to continue to adhere to the directives to stay safe from the pandemic and keep the beach clean at all times.
Madam Rejoice Kpodo, site advocate at Adzido Landing Beach, was grateful for the award and said they would show the citation to all to solicit support so as to continue to emerge first in the Municipality.
Torgbui Seth Afedido, Hedzranawo Chief Fisherman, said the LBC insisted that the right things were done regarding compliance with COVID-19 protocols, instituting spot fines for defecating on the beach among other things, adding that they intended to continue on that tangent.
Also in attendance at the presentation ceremony were representatives from Friends of the Nation (implementing partner of the project), the Fisheries Commission, the local Assemblies and National Commission for Civic Education.