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2020 Election: Fisherfolks advise politicians on what can win their votes

Fisherfolks are advising politicians seeking their votes in 7th December 2020 election to ensure that industrial trawlers are banned to save the fishing industry from collapse.

Speaking during the ‘Far Ban Bo’ discussion on Radio 360 in Takoradi hosted by Kwame Malcolm, the Executive Secretary of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council(G.N.C.F.C), Mike Abeka Edu called for the enforcement of fisheries laws.

“We need radical reforms and enforcement of fisheries laws to ensure voluntary compliance among fisherfolks. Just last year a vessel was said to have been arrested for engaging in “saiko” and was fined but did not pay. It repeated the offence again…I have heard some semi-industrial vessels have been arrested too…looks like the willingness to enforce the law is weak and if it continues we will be reduced to a fishing industry of no laws.

We also will look for political parties who will include training of Fishermen in their manifesto…when I was a kid in Elmina fishermen were taught everything that matters in the industry till about 1995 thereabouts…so it is essential in artisanal and Inshore. The main item however that must appear in the manifestos is the banning of industrial trawlers so that “saiko” will be a thing of the past. Any political party that will ensure this is captured in its manifesto and implemented, we (Fishermen) will vote en masse for it as 90 to 95 percent of Fishermen along the coast condemn “saiko”, the GNCFC secretary indicated.

An executive member of the Ghana Inshore Fishermen Association, William Victor Woode decried how they are discriminated against when government subsidies are being doled out.

“…they artisanal fishermen are even lucky with their premix subsidies…any political party that includes in their manifesto that our marine gas oil(MGO) will cost same as the artisanal, we will vote for it. 13, 500 litres of MGO costs 44, 545 cedis compared to the same quantity of premix, it costs 18, 630 cedis a difference of 25 , 515 cedis…our work involves much cost than the artisanal yet they benefit more from government. We have heard outboard motors are in for them. Yet for us, the last time Inshore fishermen benefitted from any engine and net as part of government subsidies was in 1988 through the European Economic Development Fund (E.E.D.F) through the Agric Development Bank when we got some. Perkins engines that government-supported us with but since then…all previous governments have never supported us. We use car engines and sometimes gearboxes of cars for our work as Inshore fishermen to go to sea.

All our pleas to previous governments for support fall on deaf ears yet we are partners with the artisanal fishermen who must not be discriminated against like before premix was introduced in Ghana ‘s fisheries sector,” the Inshore executive member indicated.

Ghana’s fisheries sector is a source of income for close to.2.7 million persons directly and indirectly. Over 60 percent of Ghanaians derive their source of protein from fish. It is in this vein that Care International, European Union and Friends of the Nation and Oxfam are funding a 5year fisheries sustainability project in parts of the Western, Volta and Greater Accra Regions named Far Ban Bo.

By Kwame Malcolm

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