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17.08.2005 General News

Ministry to monitor activities of fishing vessels


Cape Coast, Aug 17, GNA - The Ministry of Fisheries would from November monitor all fishing vessels, particularly foreign ones, to ensure they operate within the stipulated fishing laws of the country. An electronic surveillance system that would enable the ministry to capture all vessels that are on the high seas in a televised form is being put in place and would be completed within three months, Mr Tetegu, the Director of Fisheries, has said.

He said fishing vessels and trawlers are to operate within 15 furlongs away from the seashore.

Mr Tetegu was reacting to concerns raised by some members of the Central Region branch of the Ghana fisheries Association, at their delegates' conference at Cape Coast on Tuesday.

They said the activities of the fishing trawlers, particularly what they called the "Saiko", were hampering the work of the canoe fishermen and if they are not checked the fishing industry could collapse within the next five years.

The fishermen said these vessels are depleting fishes because they catch the young ones together with the matured ones and sometimes either throw the young ones away or sell them to other fishing boats on the high seas.

Mr Tetegu said it is unlawful for one fishing vessel to transfer fish to another vessel on the high seas and that the activities of the "Saiko" vessels would be monitored and those who would engage in any illegal activity would be prosecuted.

Mrs Gladys Asmah, the Minister of Fisheries, said the ban on the use of flashlight in fishing is still in force and urged fishermen to report anybody who would engage in that practice to the ministry for prosecution.

She expressed concern that pre-mix fuel is most of the times diverted by tanker operators and that the ministry would strengthen and empower community based fisheries management committees to assist in checking illegal fishing practices.

Nana William Buckman, the Executive Director of the Ghana Cooperative Fisheries Association, appealed to the minister to help them to lift pre-mix petrol from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR). Madam Regina Ayanful, the President of the Pioneer Cooperative Cold store Complex, said her outfit had set aside 100 million cedis as soft loan to help the fishermen to buy pre-mix petrol from TOR.