The Western Naval Command and the Ghana Air Force have embarked on an operation to protect the fish stock in Ghana’s territorial waters.
The move is to ensure that the country’s fishermen derive optimum benefit from her marine resources and halt the depletion of Ghana’s fish stock by those engaged in pair trawling.
The exercise, code-named “Operation Stock Control” under the Anti-Pair Trawling Operations of the Ghana Armed Forces, will ensure policing activities that will deter and stop pair trawling activities in the country once and for all.
The programme is also intended to provide the much-needed relief for Ghanaian fishermen who have been subjected to severe harassment and considerable loss of income as a result of pair trawling.
Under “Operation stock control”, the Ghana Navy has been equipped with three speedboats to patrol the country’s territorial waters.
The Navy will be assisted by the Ghana Air Force, which will fly its aircraft to prompt the Navy to the activities of pair trawlers.
Defence Minister, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, who announced this at the launch of the Anti-Pair Trawling Operations in Sekondi, said the ministry was aware of the effect of pair trawling on fish stock.
“I must express regret here that it has taken this long to put in facilities to effectively check and stop pair trawling,” he said.
“Fortunately, as you can see, displayed today are three patrol boats and these boats will provide us with the capacity to check the pair trawling menace in the country’s territorial waters. From today “Operation Stock Control” will ensure that the trend is reversed,” he said.
He said pair trawling had a very negative effect on the country’s maritime domain and called on the stakeholders in the fishing industry to give their utmost support to ensure the success of the operation.
“The government is aware of the harm that pair trawling has caused to your legal fishing activities. I am also aware that you have lost considerable amounts of money because of the poor catches resulting from pair trawling,” he said.
Mr Kan-Dapaah added that the Defence Ministry would provide all the necessary logistics to motivate the task force to deliver satisfactorily.
He thanked the US government for providing the country with speedboats for the purpose.
For her part, Fisheries Minister, Mrs Gladys Asmah, said presently, the ministry needed the concerted efforts of all stakeholders to save the situation.
Officials of the two ministries, the fisheries sector and other dignitaries were later taken on a tour aboard the patrol boats.
Source: Daily Graphic