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14.10.2004 Regional News

Fishing communities call for investigation into burning of nets

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New Jerusalem (E/R), Oct. 14, GNA - Three fishing communities along the Volta Lake in the Fanteakwa and Kwahu-South districts have appealed to the government, as a matter of urgency, to investigate the burning of their fishing nets by unknown persons.

The communities are Agavedzi and Ada-Kope in the Fanteakwa District and New Jerusalem in the Kwahu-South District.

The spokesman of the fishermen, Mr Harrison Thompson made the appeal when the Member of Parliament for Fanteakwa, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo visited the community on Tuesday.

According to Mr Thompson, on August 29, this year, while they were in church, some children came to inform them that some men were at the lakeside burning their fishing nets, which they usually left there. He said when he and others rushed to the scene they saw a number of Navy personnel, who they believed had set their nets on fire.

The spokesman said when they asked them the reason for their action they were simply told that they had been sent by the government to destroy the unauthorized nets they use in the lake.

According to him, they contacted the Fanteakwa District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr Ebenezer Ofoe-Ceasar and the Kwahu-South DCE, Raymond Osafo-Djan respectively, who denied any knowledge about the policy and the destruction of their nets.

He said the Fanteakwa DCE, thereafter, invited them to a meeting on the issue, where a Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) official promised to take up the issue to establish the cause for the action. According to Mr Thompson, they were aware that nets with holes below two inches were banned from being used for fishing, but in their case, some of the burnt nets included those that were above three inches in size.

Reacting to the complaint, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo, who expressed concern about the issue which had rendered the affected fishermen jobless for the past six weeks,

wondered why the government would embark on such action without the knowledge of the DCE and why no alternative means were provided them to ensure the sustenance of their livelihood. "In as much as we have to ensure that the right things were done, there is the need also to consider the effect that measures we take would have on the well-being of the people, who are already "jobless," he emphasized.

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