Ghana’s fishermen say war on pair trawling late
Some fishermen along Ghana’s coastline have downplayed the level of impact government’s “late” intervention to deal with pair trawling in the run-up to the December 28 run-off would have on them.
The fisher-folks condemned the government for playing politics with their business. They argued that for about ten years, they have suffered severe harassment and considerable loss of income as a result of pair-trawling.
The government over the weekend tasked the Western Naval Command and the Ghana Air Force to protect the fish stock in the country’s territorial waters to ensure that the country’s fishermen derive optimum benefit from the country’s marine resources and halt the depletion of the country’s fish stock by those engaged in pair trawling.
Subsequently, a programme code-named “Operation Stock Control” under the Anti-Pair Trawling Operations of the Ghana Armed Forces has been instituted to execute the task.
Pair trawling is an illegal method of fishing that involves pulling a large fishing net through the water behind two boats, the idea is to catch as much fish as possible.
Joy New’s Araba Koomson visited some fishing communities where she interacted with the people on how they are receiving government’s move to track pair trawlers on Ghana’s waters.
Some fishermen in James Town said the move is too little too late and “would not work” as planned.
“If that is what they have decided to do, well, that is not a bad idea but for us we think it is tool late, in fact the pair trawling practice has indeed affected our work and for a very long time we have not been able to catch the quantity we expect,” a fisherman noted.
Another fisherman asked: “Why didn’t they say that long ago; why are they saying it now? Those people engaged in pair-trawling have already destroyed the business; they should have dealt with this thing long ago now it is too late.”
“Now we realize that they are playing politics with us, even though we are fishermen, we have been following issues on the ground just because of what the leaders are doing.”
A fisherman who narrated his plight due to the advent of pair trawling said: “The time the trawlers came into our seas things started to change, why, because we have some stones the fish hide under to give birth that brought us more fish, but they have been using machine to break these stones to catch the fish. For about ten years now things are not going on well.”
“This is the complaint you are bound to hear amongst fishermen all along the country’s coastlines,” says Joy New’s reporter.
Nii Kojo Ababio, who has been fishing since he was six years old, said since the practice of pair trawling started, his catch continues to dwindle.
“It has dropped. The fish come in seasons, for instance, in this season we know the tuna will come but we didn’t see the tuna,” he said and blamed it on pair trawling.
Kwamena, a fisherman who plies his trade along the Anomabo and Elmina coastline in the Central Region entreated that equal opportunity should be given to both big and small vessels to operate.
“The practice is not helping us; we are unable to get the catch that we want.”
Credit: Isaac Essel