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14.03.2006 General News

Fishermen association defends 'light fishing'

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Elmina, March 15, GNA - The national president of the Ghana Inshore Fishermen's Association, Mr Joseph Quaye, on Tuesday defended the use of light for fishing, saying it was the only option for attracting fish from the seabed.

He said unlike in the past, it has now become increasingly difficult to get fish on the sea surface because plankton, which serves as a source of food for aquatic animals had been diminishing, resulting in the fish stock going deep down.

Mr Quaye was speaking at a meeting of chief fishermen from the Central, Western and Greater Accra regions, at Elmina. The meeting was to collate the views of the chief fishermen on how best the association could collaborate with the Ministry of Fisheries to safeguard the industry.

It was necessitated by a ban on fishing with light imposed by the Ministry, followed by a court injunction by the association to have it reversed, resulting in an intervention by the Attorney-General to have the case settled out of court.

At the meeting, the chief fishermen agreed to present a common front in their struggle to defend and promote their vocation, as well as, foster unity among boat and canoe fishermen.

Mr Joe Kramo, public relations officer for the association, said the use of light for fishing was approved by legislation in 1969 to facilitate bumper catch to meet the nation's fish demand. He, however, condemned the use of dynamite, carbide or related explosives for fishing, saying the practice was poisoning the fish stock.

Mr Kramo called on the fishermen to report anybody using such explosives to the law enforcing agencies.

Nana Jojo Solomon, chief fisherman for Elmina, expressed concern about what he referred to as big fishing vessels, which he said, were depleting the fish stock through unregulated fishing. According to him, such vessels did not observe any closing season, as was the case in European countries. He therefore urged the government to take measures to regulate their activities.