Fishermen struggling to make a living as light fishing activities destroy business

Fishermen in Accra are calling on government to ensure the constant supply of pre-mix fuel, and crack down on illegal light fishing vessels to help them stay in business.

Every year, Ghana spends more than 250 million cedis importing fish and fish products.

Last year for example, a staggering amount of 283.3 million dollars was spent, as disclosed by President John Mahama during his state of the nation address to parliament on Tuesday 25 th February 2014. This is despite the large coast line that runs from the Volta through Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions.

Fishermen along the coast identify constant shortage of pre mix fuel and light fishing activities as the major challenges making it impossible for them to cash in on the sector.

Joy news Joseph Opoku Gakpo reports from the James Town Beach in Accra that, several fishing canoes were docked, with the fishermen sitting in groups having a conversation.

Most of them could not go to sea. The problem was that there was no pre-mix fuel to power the outboard motors of their canoes.

“Like this one, the fish dey ohh (sic), but no pre mix. The market women came with their baskets to buy fish. But the fishermen did not go to sea”, one of them said.

Some others managed to go to sea using fuel they prepared on their own. But at a higher cost. They said while a gallon of pre-mix fuel sells for about 7 cedis, improvised fuel prepared using engine oil bought from filling stations costs twice as much. Thereby reducing their profits.

The fishing industry is responsible for the livelihood of about 2 million Ghanaians. But the fishermen say the activities of foreign vessels engaged in the use of light to attract fish are reducing their catch.

“The light people, they are disturbing us. Because when the fish is from far coming, then they put light on it to get them. So they don’t come to our end. The Chinese people. They claim they too they pay tax. So they spoil our business”, one fisherman said.

This they say is making it difficult for them to cater for the health and education needs of their families.

“We have children, we will buy books and other things. So if our people don’t go fishing and we don’t get money to buy those things, my wife go worry (sic). But if we get the pre-mix some and they stop light fishing, me too I go chop”, another said. 

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