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28.12.2004 Regional News

Canoe fishermen protest against use of lighting system

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Tema Manhean, Dec. 28, GNA - Members of the Canoe Fisheries Association (CFA) at Tema have renewed their call on the government to restrain the Inshore Fisheries Association from using lighting for fishing.

They have also warned fishmongers not to buy fish from the Inshore Fishermen popularly known as "lagee lagee" or "pelele" as they accused them of not only using light, but also chemicals like dynamite and DDT for fishing.

Fishmongers who contravene their warning would have their fish seized.

Nii Adjeiteh Mator, Tema Chief Fisherman, who made the call told the Ghana News Agency on Monday that the light brightens the area of operation to attract more fishes including the fingerlings while some are driven far away deep sea.

He expressed the fear that should the practice continue, the fish in the sea would diminish and some would not be left for the future and they would be thrown out of jobs since fishing is their main source of income.

He said the Inshore fishermen have for the past two years ignored persistent demands by the Canoe Fishermen to stop the practice because it was unproductive.

Nii Mator said last week, about 25 canoe fishermen rushed on him at his house at Tema Manhean to demand and answer to why the lighting system was still in use and threatened to embark on demonstration if nothing was done about it.

According to him the fishermen had wanted to demonstrate just before the 2004 elections but they were stopped by Mr Ishmael Ashitey, MP for Tema East and Minister of Trade, Industry and Presidential Initiatives.

The Chief Fisherman therefore called on the Ministry of Fisheries to ensure that the practice ceases. He said the canoe fishermen are over 1,000 while the Inshore fishermen number only 100 "so we cannot look unconcerned while our members are displaced by a few selfish people". He said the canoe fishermen operate only in the afternoon while the inshore fishermen who use trawlers work in the night "by using strange nets for the catch".

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