Accra, Aug. 16, GNA - The Ministry of Fisheries is in the process of phasing out the use of dugout canoes by fishermen, Mr John Dugan, Deputy Minister of Fisheries announced on Tuesday.
"This is to protect and conserve our forest and also protect fisheries resources in order to enhance the lives of fishermen and also make fishing a more lucrative business."
The Deputy Minister said this during a meeting with canoe carvers and artisanal fishermen aimed at resolving differences between the two parties.
"The Ministry is looking at manufacturing canoes out of fibre glass or using wood planks instead of cutting down a whole log for the carving of just one canoe."
Mr Dugan said in order not to render the canoe carvers jobless the Ministry would ensure that an avenue was created for them to learn new techniques.
The fishermen had reported to the Ministry that the carvers took money from them to provide them with canoes but did not supply the canoes.
Mr Bismarck Doku Nettey, Former President of the Ghana Association of Farmers and Fishermen, speaking on behalf of members said the carvers under a quota system were pre-financed by the fishermen before they fell trees for the carving of canoes.
"The carvers engage in multiple collection of money from several people for one canoe and due to the non-specific location of the carvers we find it difficult trying to locate them for our canoes." Mr David Darpol, Executive Member of the Ghana Canoe Carvers Association said non-registered members engaged in most of the malpractices and some constrains such as the huge sums of money demanded by forestry guards and contractors in charged of measuring and felling of the trees were causing problems.
He appealed to members of the two parties to come together to find ways of settling their differences.