26.03.2004 Regional News

Ketu, Keta supports ban by MOFA on aggregating method of fishing

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Keta (V/R), March 25, GNA - Ketu and Keta District members of the National Canoe Fishermen Council (NCFC) on Wednesday declared their support for the ban imposed by the Ministry of Food And Agriculture (MOFA) on the use of aggregating method of fishing with light produced by generators.

The about 85 members that met at Keta for a day's forum said they were satisfied with the objectives of MOFA regarding the ban and would support its implementation.

Similar forums would be held in Greater Accra, Central, Western and Volta Regions to get the fisher folks informed on the ban and to discuss how they could assist MOFA to make it work.

A section of the members, however, blamed MOFA for its failure in controlling the big fishing vessels that introduced the practice in Ghanaian waters.

Mr Francis Kpodo, National Chairman of the Council, asked members, who practise that method to attract and trap fish to put a stop to it. He said the move of the Government was only to sustain the fishing industry and appealed to members to expose those using that method. Mr Kpodo said they could for example take down registration numbers of the vessels seen using the method for onward transmission to the authorities.

Mr Clemence Tetteh Lotsor, Keta District Director of Fisheries, said the Fisheries Act 625 of 2002 bans the use of aggregating materials including DDT and dynamites in fishing in the country's waters. He said though the law did not mention the use of light, it appropriately fits in as the light attracts the fish which are then trapped by the fishermen.

Togbe Dogbavu III, a net owner at Agavedzi asked the Ministry to restrain Korean and Japanese fishing trawlers that use the method. Mr Cornelius Adukpo also of Agavedzi said he identified over 20 vessels in the Tema Fishing Harbour last week, which were still using the method and appealed to MOFA to make the implementation of the ban holistic. Mr Evans Kofi Ahiakpo, Deputy General Secretary of the Council, read a MOFA letter of December 22, last year banning the practice.

It states that the "sardinella, which is the mainstay of the artisanal fisheries has a resting period around October and November during which the younger ones join the resting stock to mature and spawn". It further states that attracting the fish with light and catching them has serious implications on the younger ones, which are not allowed to mature.

The letter accordingly empowered district assemblies to empower the Police to seize generators of fishermen who flout the ban. 25 Mar.04

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