The Ministry of Fisheries on Tuesday said before its creation in January 2005, pair-trawling was already in operation in Ghana’s waters.
A statement signed by the Ministry’s Chief Director, Mr Emmanuel Mensah Quaye on Tuesday said the outfit had over and over again reiterated the position that companies permitted to pair-trawl, were licensed as far back as August 2,000.
It said the attention of the Ministry was drawn to pair-trawling when its destructive effect began to show with the depletion of marine stocks of fish, and low harvests, especially, by canoe fishermen.
The statement recalled that over the last year, the dispute about the genesis of pair-trawling as a method of fishing in Ghanaian waters generated controversies among fishermen, fishing associations and other interested non-governmental organizations.
It referred to a couple of letters issued to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture by the Ministry of Roads and Transport, dated August 3, 2000 and December 11, of the same year as documentary proof of the assertion by the Ministry of Fisheries.
The letter dated August 3, 2000, headlined “Application for Permit to Operate Fishing Vessels-Mass Fisheries Limited” which the Ministry of Roads and Transport wrote said: “We have examined the application together with the related documents, of MESSRS MASS FISHERIES LTD for permit to import six new build fishing vessels and are satisfied with the principal characteristics of the vessels as outlined in the builders certificate.
“You may please grant permit for the importation of the vessels. The registration of the vessels will, however, be subject to survey and certification by Government Marine Surveyors, and proof of genuine Ghanaian ownership.”
The statement said, the letter dated December 11, carried as its headline: “Registration and Licensing of Fishing Trawlers-‘Star of the Sea,’ ‘Star of Hope,’ ‘Sekonde,’ ‘Abaawa Hannah,’ ‘Nana Akrasi,’ and Maame Adadziwah’- MESSRS MASS FISHERIES LTD”.
Meanwhile, the statement indicated the New Fisheries Regulations specifically banning pair-trawling as a method of fishing has been passed by Parliament.