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04.10.2005 Regional News

Fishermen told to be wary of cheats, fraudsters

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Sekondi, Oct. 4, GNA - Mr Daniel Dugan, Deputy Minister of Fisheries has advised fishermen to be wary of those, who have been using the name of the Ministry to cheat and defraud them.

Those fraudsters use the name of "Ministry for Fuel, Energy and Fisheries" to issue fictitious certificates to fishermen and collect 1.8 million cedis from them with the intension of supplying them with pre-mix fuel, he alleged.

Speaking at a forum for fishermen at Sekondi on Tuesday, on the Fisheries Act 625, Mr Dugan told the fishermen that there is no ministry known as "Ministry for Fuel, Energy and Fisheries in the country. He also cautioned them against dealing with dubious characters that promise to supply them with outboard motors and other fishing gears. Mr Dugan disclosed that, many unsuspecting fishermen had lost several millions of cedis by dealing with such people.

He said investigations were still underway over alleged diversions of pre-mix fuel in some areas, adding that, 'those found to have diverted or violated pre-mix fuel regulations would be handed over to the Police for prosecution".

Mr Dugan said the security agencies would soon be resourced to enable them arrest and prosecute fishermen, who use unorthodox methods in their operations.

He said to check illegal activities in pre-mix fuel distribution, Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) had been asked to re-design waybills to enable each to contain the relevant information about the tanker's driver and expected destination.

Madam Sophia Horner-Sam, Deputy Western Regional Minister urged the fishermen to render periodic accounts on their activities, especially in relation to pre-mix fuel allocation. She, however, cautioned that Local Pre-mix Committees (LPCs), which were indebted to TOR, would not be supplied new consignments of the pre-mix.

Madam Horner-Sam noted that the use of submersible lighting systems for fishing was destroying fish stocks. She said fish caught through such methods were unwholesome. Madam Horner-Sam appealed to fishermen to report their greedy colleagues, who use unapproved nets and other equipment in their operations.

Some of the fishermen alleged that apart from the use of the submersible lights, some fishermen use chemicals that are dangerous to human health, such as carbide and DDT in their operations. They appealed to the government to ensure that those, who contravened the laws, were severely dealt with, if caught.