Government must monitor safety of fishes – Chief fisherman

Accra, Nana Kwesi Duncan I, the Chief Fisherman of Marine Park Elimina in the Central Region, has urged the government to deploy a monitoring mechanism that will help test the safety of fishes that are landed at major landing sites.

He said when that was done it would help detect fishes that were caught through illegal means from those that were legally caught and thereby arrangement could be made to discard such fishes before they got to the markets and were sold to the unsuspecting public.

In so doing people could avoid consuming such fishes and escape from getting unsusceptible infections.

Nana Duncan who led members of the fishing communities of the Eimina landing beach to interacting with journalists who went on a tour to access the challenges of fishing communities, said government needed to enforce periodic monitoring of lands within the communities.

The tour is being organised by the Centre of Coastal Management of the University of Cape Coast under the USAID funding project, aim at building the capacity of researchers and professionals that would work to help improve fishing activities within the coastal belt.

He also called on government to regulate, or ban entirely light fishing which had become a major bane in the fishing sector.

Commenting on the close season, Nana Duncan applauded government and other fisheries NGO for introducing the close season for industrial fleets which really help to restock the fish in the sea.

More importantly, chief fishermen, fish mongers and fish processors have seriously supported the inclusion of this close season not only for the industrial fleet but as well engage artisanal fleets and semi industrial fleets to observe the close season, he said.

Contributing to the conversation, the other fishermen and fish mongers corroborated the fact that fish stock was widely dwindling because of the use of Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported (IUU) fishing practices currently being adopted by most fishermen to fish.

Madam Aba Gyan, a fishmonger admitted that most of the fish they buy from the fishermen for processing got bad within days due to the illegal way by which they were caught.

Our hands always itch whenever we process these fishes lately, and when the fish is put on fire it goes dark.

Madam Angela Grant, another fishmonger also said: Most of the fish we purchase to smoke go bad, putting us in indebtedness.

Mr John Nyame, a fisherman blamed the use of light fishing on the foreigners, mostly the Chinese who practice transhipment on the sea, also known as known as Saiko fishing, that went beyond license fishing into fishing unauthorised fishing.

Through Saiko fishes are not allowed to swim over our catchment area where we could get fish and so some of us resort to light fishing and using dynamite and other detergents to attract fish, he said.

Mr Ekow Krah, another fisherman also emphasized the need for the authorities to stop both Saiko fishing and light fishing to ensure that fishes that were caught and were wholesome.

Source: Ghana News Agency