Chief fishermen in Nzema East, Ellembelle and the Jomoro district of the Western region has issued a strong warning to fishermen in communities in the district and the Central Region to desist from using light for fishing ahead of their bumper season expected in August.
According to the chiefs, the move is the surest way to restock the sea and ensure bumper harvest.
“We could borrow any amount and pay in August, during which time we catch in excess. But when light for fishing was introduced in our waters, by our own calculations and observations, the fish stock has declined significantly. As a result, all chief fishermen from Axim to Newtown in Jomoro have agreed to enforce this ban on using light for fishing. This we believe will restock the sea,” Nana Kofi Bentil, Lower Axim Chief Fisherman told Citi News.
Fishermen throughout the country have been hit by a dwindling fish catch in recent years. The phenomenon is said to have been caused by the increasing disregard for best fishing practices in the sea.
Light for fishing, pair trawling, use of monofilament nets and DDT continue to thwart the efforts towards resuscitating the sea.
“Today’s fishing expeditions are carried out as if there is no tomorrow. Our people are behaving as if life is all about us living today. They have forgotten of these little ones coming to face the future,” Chief Fisherman at Upper Axim said in an interview with Citi News.
He continued: “recent revelations by a Norwegian Vessel which carried a survey of fish stock in our waters have been shown to us. It is sad how we have killed all the herrings in our seas from Keta down to Half Assini. Every fisherman know how herrings help repay every debt. Now they are going extinct. Only a few fingerlings were seen in the waters of Axim. We will not sit down for these ones to use light and other bad methods to deplete them today”.
Nana Kofi Bentil explained that “people in our area can still go for fishing. They can go for all kinds of fishing expeditions. But what we will not entertain is using unapproved methods in the course of your expedition.”
The Chief fisherman for Jomoro also cautioned fishermen from other regions and politicians against violating the collective decision to ban other fishing methods.
He warned, “Our colleague fishermen from Komenda who are hiding at Ankobra and using those unapproved methods should desist from that act with immediate effect. We are carefully watching the sea. We are watching who is doing what at every time. If we get you, together with the law, we will deal with you. We are also serving notice to politicians. This is where we get our livelihood from. We do not receive salaries like they do. Nobody should read political meanings into what we are doing. We have resolved to restock our seas. We are protecting our livelihood. That’s all we are doing. If anybody dares us, we will come all out after such groups.”
They lamented that cold storage facilities built for them by the government are lying idle and empty “because, where is the fish that we have to keep them for tomorrow at the cold facilities. Go there now and see that they are virtually empty.”
“We have to get it right. All other fishing communities can emulate what we have started. We believe it will protect our future.”
By: Obrempong Yaw Ampofo/citifmonline.com