Members of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCC) on Tuesday attributed the downward trend of the fishing industry to the inefficiencies of the Fisheries Commission.
They noted that the inability of the Fisheries Commission to enforce the fisheries Act 625 of 2002 and the fisheries regulation, egislative instrument 1968, had contributed largely to the present state of low fishing productivity in the country.
Mr Mike Abaka, an executive member of the association, expressed the concern to the applause of the entire members at a meeting held in Takoradi.
Friends of the Nation (FON), a Takoradi based non-governmental organisation with focus on the environment and fisheries, held a one day validation meeting for the GNCC to educate them on the need to adopt responsible and sustainable fishing practices.
Mr Abaka said failure of the Fisheries Commission to enforce the fisheries law had encouraged illegalities in the industry, resulting in the use of light, chemical and unapproved fishing materials, saying “all these have led to the low catch bringing down the business.”
When contacted, Mr Alex Saba, Western Regional Fisheries Director, claimed the Commission had been enforcing the regulation with effective monitoring “but it has been irregular in the past because it is a very expensive exercise”.
He said in 1977 the Commission spent about GHC1, 100 a day on monitoring, making the exercise irregular.
Mr Saba also blamed their challenges on political interference in the past but added that “now we have a dynamic Minister, who is determined to enforce the fisheries law to the letter, devoid of any interference”.
Mr Donkris Mevuta, Executive Director of the FON, advised members of the GNCFC to cultivate the habit of record keeping to enable them to keep records of their performance in the industry.
He noted that the inability to document their activities makes it difficult to put their concerns across for support.
The members appealed to the authorities to organize workshops for fishermen in all categories to enable them to adhere strictly to responsible fishing practices in order to promote food production.