Parliament had enacted the Fishers Regulation 2010 (L.I. 1968) to give effect to the Fisheries Act 2002 (Act 625) and prescribed measures for conservation, management and development fisheries and aquaculture in Ghana.
A statement signed by Nii Amasah Namoale, Deputy Minister (Fisheries) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said the Regulation had prescribed measures and penalties, on licensing of semi-industrial and industrial vessels, use of seine nets in inland water bodies.
Others are netting materials for set nets to be used in marine and inland waters, minimum mesh sizes for the various types of fishing gears, minimum landing size of commercially important fish species, markings on submerged set nets and equipment to be carried by motorised and non-motorised fishing vessels for fishing trip.
The rest are prohibited fishing methods, transhipment of fish, incidental catches of juvenile fish, gravid lobsters and other crustaceans, pollution of fishery water bodies, aquaculture operations and importation and exportation of fish.
The fines on conviction for contravening any section of the Fisheries Regulations; ranges from 150 penalty units to two million dollars and to term of prison of between three months to four years.
For the avoidance of doubt, prohibited fishing methods included: pair trawling, fishing by light attraction, use of bamboo for purpose of aggregating fish and use of explosive and obnoxious chemicals such as DDT for fishing.
The statement said that intelligence reports reaching the Ministry and the Fisheries Commission indicated that some fishermen were still engaged in pair trawling, fishing by light attraction and use of explosives and obnoxious chemicals in fishing.
“The Ministry and the Fisheries Commission want to assure the public that the perpetrators of such illegal acts would be tracked down and brought to book, “it added.
The statement reminded fishermen that the penalties or fines on conviction for engaging in any of the prohibited fishing methods were; 25-500 penalty units for canoes, 250,000 dollars to two million dollars for local industrial or semi-industrial fishing vessel or foreign fishing vessel and in addition, the catch, fishing gear or other apparatus used in the commission of the offence would be forfeited to the State.
It said that the Ministry was aware of the current economic hardship that the fishing industry was going through and therefore advised fishermen to stop engaging in fishing activities that contravened the Fisheries Regulation to avoid being penalised by the law.
The statement expressed appreciation to all stakeholders who contributed in the preparation of the regulation.