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10.02.2009 Business & Finance

C/R fishermen favour scrapping of Fisheries Ministry

By gna

A cross-section of fishermen in the Central Region on Tuesday, expressed their approval of the decision by government to scrap the Fisheries Ministry.

According to them, its establishment did more harm than good, particularly to artisan fishing.

They said the establishment of the Ministry, rather brought in its wake, “tough times” for fishermen and rendered them impoverished, as their major concerns like pair-trawling and the use of dynamite and flash lights in fishing, were never properly addressed despite persistent appeals.

A spokesman for the fishermen, Mr John Aubyn, made this known at a press conference in Cape Coast.

He debunked rumours by “some unscrupulous infiltrators into the fishing communities”, that fishermen were unhappy at the scrapping of the Ministry.

He alleged that under the Ministry, fishing inputs, including outboard motors were sold to them at exorbitant prices, with rigid terms of payment, which many of them could not afford, while the administration of premix fuel was “full of corrupt practices”.

Mr Aubyn explained that before the creation of the Ministry, activities within the fisheries sector were smooth, with fishing inputs and loans through the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), accessed without any difficulty or obstacles.

The administration of premix fuel, he said was also smooth with no impediments and that local fishermen were satisfied because the industry was vibrant.

Mr Aubyn, denied another rumour that President John Atta Mills has promised retirement benefits for fishermen and stressed that the President has made no such promise, nor have fishermen in the country made such a request.

“We are fully confident that when President Mills’ government starts full scale work all the problems and concerns confronting fishermen would be addressed to enable fishing communities in the country to enjoy good livelihood”, he declared.

He appealed to the President to as a matter of urgency, consider appointing representatives of artisan fishermen on the Fisheries Commission to cater for their interest and that of the industry as a whole.

It would be recalled that late last month, government announced the re-alignment and scrapping of some Ministries, including the Fisheries Ministry, to curb government expenditure.

Representatives from various fishing communities from Komenda, Moree, Elmina, Anomabu, Saltpond and Biriwa attended the conference.