Fishermen in Winneba,Central Region are accusing officers of the Fisheries Enforcement Unit of physically assaulting them following seizure of their fishing nets.
In the early hours of Wednesday, officers of the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) which is made up the marine police and the navy stormed the Winneba beach and confiscated nets belonging to the fisher folks .
Recounting the incident to Joy News, one of the fishermen complained bitterly of how he was beaten to pulp after he refused to yield to the officer’s demands.
He further lamented how they were denied of prior notice by the Enforcement Unit and how the exercise had deprived them of their means of livelihood adding that “it will be difficult for them to feed their families.”
Another scuffle ensued between the fisheries commission enforcement unit and some fishermen at New Amanful in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region after the unit went to seize what they said were illegal nets used for fishing.
Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, National Coordinator of the Fisheries Enforcement Unit, Naval Captain Emmanuel Kwaafo detailed how the officers sustained various degrees of injuries at the hands of the New Ahanful fishermen during the scuffle.
“While in the process of arresting some illegal nets, the team was attacked with stones, sticks, missiles. In fact in the process a marine police officer was hit with a stone at the back of his head,” Captain Kwaafo disclosed.
Responding to the accusation of not granting these fishermen prior notice, he revealed that these fishermen had more than prior notice explaining that for over 20 years, several education had been done one of which was the translation the Fisheries Commission Act, Act 625 into various dialects for thorough assimilation.
He further explained that almost all of the fishermen whose items were confiscated were the same people who requested the enforcement of the Fisheries act.
Hinting on the outcome of the operation exercise they undertook, Captain Kwaafo said so far, they have seized over 80 fishing nets and that they would be prosecuting those involved.
Captain Kwaafo also urged fishermen along the coastal belt of the country to conform to the laws enshrined in the Fisheries act, Act 625.
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