The anti-pair trawling task force, made up of the Ghana Navy and Air Force, has arrested two fishing vessels pair-trawling off the coast of Dutch Komenda in the Western Region.
They were arrested on the dawn of Wednesday, less than 72-hours after the inauguration of the anti-pair trawling operations task force in the region.
The mandate of the task force, code-named “Operation Stock Control”, is to protect the country’s fish stock to avert further depletion and for the local fisher folks to benefit from their lawful fishing activities.
The vessels, captained by four Chinese, had 12 crew members and were caught in the act of pair trawling by the task force.
From records at the fisheries, the two vessels, Twin-City Port 101 and Twin-City Port, 102-Number AF 29, are said to belong to Mass Fisheries, a fishing company in Sekondi, licensed for single trawling and not pair trawling.
Apart from the pair trawling, the two ships were also found to be in a radius below the 30-metre contour, and were seriously harvesting everything, including the fingerlings and destroying the breeding grounds.
The names of the four Chinese manning the ships were given as Ma Chuan Zheng, Sen Jia Ping, Zhung Yuan Wen and Sung Wengn.
The names of their Ghanaian crew members were also given as Theo Kobla, Kofi Yeboah, Kwesi Penyi, Kwame Quansah, Egya Kwaw, Kohena Afful, Anas Ashong, Kwabena Labo, Kojo Kwansah, Frank Aggrey, Kwame Akweitey and Kweku Essel.
According to the Ghanaian crew, they were aware of the importance the government and the Ghana Navy attached to the pair trawling menace, as well as the consequences of fishing within the prohibited areas or within the 30-metre contour.
“But when the Chinese gave the orders for us to lower the nets, we told them that we could be arrested, but they shouted on us to obey the captains’ instruction,” one of them said.
At a press briefing at Sekondi, the Flag Officer Commanding the Western Naval Command, Commodore Frank Daley, said protecting the country’s water resources was very important to the Ghana Navy.
He said with the joint Navy-Air Force operation in force the officers and men would do everything ‘within their power to protect the fish resources in the country’s waters.
The vesse1s are currently being held at the Home Port of the Sekondi Naval Base, while the suspects will be handed over to the authorities.
Source: Daily Graphic