Mr. Richster Nii Amarh Amarfio, General Secretary, National Fisheries Association of Ghana (NAFAG) has cautioned journalists to undertake fact-checking and due diligence before publishing stories on the blue economy as false publications affect the nation's ratings.
He said untruthful and unverified stories do not only affect the stakeholders in the sector but degrade the country’s performance in the eyes of the international community.
He cautioned Ghanaian Journalists to be careful not to fall into the hands of international and foreign interest groups seeking to benefit from the downgrading of Ghana, “such people come through subtle means to gather negative information and publish it to either embarrass the nation or their foreign competitor”.
Mr. Amarfio said this in reaction to a BBC report published on January 4th this year with the headline “Ghana fishing: Abuse, corruption, and death on Chinese vessel”.
The news report suggested that the Chinese crew on the vessels flying the flags of Ghana treated their local fishermen colleagues like “slaves, beat them, they spit on them, they kick them.
Mr. Amarfio who was speaking with the Ghana News Agency in Tema said most of the International Regulators usually relied on the reports to decide the faith of a country in the sector.
He said the country was under yellow card, which meant that the country had been pre-identified for not respecting the fisheries regulations act explaining that once the country moved to red, the fishery sector would be on the verge of collapsing.
“When European Union (EU) pre-identifies you for Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) it means your country will suffer the consequences and so it is easy for a country or a company to be targeted by unscrupulous entities, let us go at the industry, the Chinese, and the Koreans,” Mr. Amarfio stated.
He added that the current state of Ghana in the fishery sector was not encouraging and called on media persons to endeavour to engage the right persons, especially in delicate issues so as not to escalate any form of misunderstanding and confusion.
He said the sector was highly regulated by International Maritime Organizations, the Fishery Commission, Ghana Maritime Authority and other stakeholders who do not permit any form of misconduct and abuse by any party onshore.
He admitted that although sometimes accidents occur, safety measures were highly adhered to on vessels.
He mentioned that in the case of death, the police and Ghana Maritime Authority were notified to proceed with the investigation while the vessel is fumigated.
The NAFAG General Secretary said every worker on the vessel was insured so in case of any accident or death, the person injured was covered and the family of the deceased compensated through the insurance cover.