Fish processors mostly women are unhappy how they are often discouraged from undertaking key roles in fishing which have been made the preserve of fishermen all in a bid to discourage them.
Speaking to Kwame Malcolm host of Radio 360's flagship morning show, "Y3nsom ", in Takoradi, and monitored by ModernGhana News, the National Vice Chairperson of the National Fish Processors and Traders Association (NAFPTA) , Mrs Emelia Abeka Edu, said often the intent of men to prevent women from playing key roles in the fisheries value chain is contributing to the growing insanitary conditions at our various fish landing beaches.
"As women, we used to carry the fish from the vessels when they berth, but the men in a bid to hide the revenue from us the women who give them capital for fishing, have resorted to carrying the fish themselves or resort to "aboboya." So you see most beaches now are dirty because when we used to do that as women we ensure we sweep after the day's duties but the men do not do likewise.." she stated.
She further lamented how such negative labelling began when the women try to bring such issues to meetings have affected them.
" ..it started sometime back when even women were not invited to various fora and decision making was left to only the fishermen and as time went on and projects like "Far Ban Bo" began creating the needed awareness on the need to allow voices of women to be heard.
"Initially, if we attended the fora and we contribute as women, we are called names such as "champion atta" "akukor nyini" (old layer), "any3n" ( witches) and all sorts of negative labels," she indicated.
Speaking on the same programme, Mrs Getrude Cromwell, who owns two fishing boats and has been in the business for 20 years, was optimistic that if women are allowed to play a key role in the fishing sector, many of the fishing irregularities would have ceased.
" ..if as a woman you try to be vocal or venture to do the work of the fishermen like mending nets or going fishing, they will call you names like " adjoa tiger", "b3yifuo"( witch) so you will see that as a woman you need to be quiet and just play the role the men want you to play ...If women are allowed to play a key role in fishing, I am sure these illegal unreported unregulated ( IUU) practises would have ceased by now," she stressed.
The Zonal Director of the Fisheries Commission in the Nzema East District in the Western Region, Justina Annan recounted that the Commission has a gender desk and it was only last year that a major gender mainstreaming awareness engagement was done with the fishers and processors.
She further promised that more of such engagements will be held in various fishing communities like Dixcove and others to increase awareness on the need for women to play an active role in fishing sector.
The NAFPTA Vice chair lauded the efforts of the Fisheries Commission in ensuring that areas like Axim landing fishing beaches always ensure woman are involved in various decision making due to the continuous awareness programmes.