Ghana government to supply subsidized fishing nets to fishermen

Hawa Koomson (right)

Mrs. Mavis Hawa Koomson, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, has hinted of moves by the government to supply subsidized nets to fishermen across the country.

The move is hinged on government’s avowed commitment to ensure fishermen stop using unapproved nets (monofilament nets) noted for unsolicited ghost fishing with the tendency of depleting the country’s fish stock.

“The Fisheries Ministry is undertaking feasibility studies and consultations with the fisheries groups and other relevant stakeholders to map out modalities to supply subsidized fishing nets.

“It forms part of the Ministry’s integrated approach to streamline issues in the sector to economically empower fisher folks and families,” Mrs Koomson said.

The sector minister was speaking at a ceremony to present quantities of relief items to fishermen and fish processors selected from the various fisheries association across the Central Region to earn a living during the closed season.

More than 3,000 beneficiaries were supplied with items including basins, refrigerators, wire mesh, rice, and cooking oil.

While the rice and cooking oil were given to all beneficiaries, the basins, refrigerators, and wire mesh were specifically given to women and inland fishers.

Also, nationally, more than 2,500 basins, 2,000 refrigerators, 7,000 wire mesh, 20,000 bags of rice and 8,000 gallons of cooking oil have been earmarked for national distribution.

Mrs Koomson explained that monofilament nets were allowed into the country for those fishing in lakes such as the Volta Lake and even that they were allowed to use a required size of three inches.

“It will interest you to note that the nets which are often seized from the fishermen are as small as one inch, a size which is not allowed.”

“The fisher-folks were permitted to use are the multi-thread filament nets.  Therefore, it is not right for the monofilament nets imported for the inland fishermen to find their way into the coastal communities,” the sector minister explained.

Cautioning fishers against the practice,  Mrs Koomson urged all fishers to without excuse comply with the directive to avoid a clash with the law.

She said the Ministry after several consultations with relevant stakeholders had agreed to enforce compliance of regulations on gears, particularly fishing nets as part of governance measures to salvage the country’s fisheries sector.

Touching on other illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU), she said, it required firm and stringent measures without fear or favour in dealing with it to achieve impactful results adding that the Ministry was equal to the task.

The government would not allow the few selfish individuals in the fisheries sector to destroy the country’s fisheries resources with destructive fishing gear to the detriment of the masses who depended on the sector for their livelihoods.

“We have a responsibility to manage our fisheries resources for the benefit of our people and those yet unborn,” she said, adding that the country had a responsibility to provide livelihood for “our people and ensure food security for our nation.”

Source: GNA

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