Saltpond (CR), Aug 25, GNA - Fishermen caught using dynamite, light and other unorthodox means for fishing in the Mfantseman District should be fined two million cedis, their gear seized and their leaders sentenced to one year in prison.
The fish caught with dynamite and dangerous chemicals should be destroyed while their unacceptable gear including half-inch nets confiscated, the Mfantseman District Community Based Fishing Management Committees (CBFMC), decided at a meeting at Saltpond on Tuesday to protect the industry.
The members of the committees who are to submit their decisions to the District Assembly to pass by-laws on them also stated that the use of half-inch nets should not be allowed not even for fishing anchovy "Keta schoolboys", adding that, they should be fined between 500,000 to two million cedis and their nets confiscated.
They also said that fishermen who failed to register their boats should not be supplied either premix fuel or marine diesel. Members of the CBFMC were of the view that parents of children found at beaches during school hours should be made to pay a fine of 100,000 cedis and fishermen or fishmongers who used their services also made to pay the same amount.
The District Chief Executive (DCE), members of the Agriculture Sub-Committee of the Assembly, Chief Fishermen and their secretaries attended the meeting.
Mr Francis Ayittey Okine, Chairman of the Sub-Committee, expressed concern about the use of illegal fishing practices, which depleted marine resources and said they should not be allowed to continue. He said the problem should not be seen as an issue only for fishermen and stated that the Sub-Committee would facilitate the passing of the by-laws to protect the industry.
The DCE, Mr Robert Quainoo-Arthur, said the poor catch being experienced this fishing season should be an eye-opener for fishermen and urged them to desist from the use of unapproved methods. He asked fishermen to report greedy ones among them to the law-enforcing agencies and urged them to form co-operative societies for fishing inputs to be channelled through them.
The DCE cautioned that the Assembly would not go to the aid of any fisherman caught using unapproved methods.
Mr Ebenezer Azasu, District Officer in charge of Fisheries, advised them to take the laws seriously to sustain the industry, which was the backbone of the District.