More than 500 local fishing boats are idling at the various landing beaches from Tema in the Greater Accra Region to Half Assini in the Jomoro District in the Western Region as a result of the rising cost of fuel.
According to the Inshore Fishermen Association, the idleness was affecting the entire fishing value chain in those areas, crashing the livelihoods of more than 30,000 people, including fishermen, fish smokers and fishmongers.
The association, therefore, appealed to the government to revisit subsidies on premix fuel to enable fishermen to stay in business.
The National President of the association, Mr Joseph Nii Quaye, told the Daily Graphic in Takoradi that members of the association could not afford the high cost of fuel.
Cost of one expedition
Nii Quaye disclosed that one fishing expedition used to cost about GH¢400, including food, ice blocks and fuel, but that had now shot up to about GH¢2,000. That, he added, had made fishing not viable, since the catch was far below the operational cost.
“The current situation is such that if the government does not come to our aid by restoring the subsidy on fuel, the industry will collapse,” he stressed.
Madam Nana Akua Cobbah, a fishmonger in Sekondi, said the idling vessels were a great worry to the fishing community, saying, “This is because we have given the fishermen money to buy their inputs and now that they have incurred losses, we do not know what to do.”
When the Daily Graphic arrived at the Albert Bosomtwe-Sam Fishing Harbour in Sekondi, hundreds of fishing vessels had berthed at a time they should have been at sea.
Many of the fishermen said they had actually mended their nets but for the past month they had not been able to go fishing because of the high cost of fuel.
Some of the young fishermen said since they did not have formal education to apply for white-collar jobs, their only trade was fishing. Consequently, being at home for more than a month was a problem for them.