Take Stringent Measures To Restore Fishery Stocks - Fishermen To Govt

Some fishermen in Axim say if conscious efforts were not made to check illegalities at sea, government's landing sites and harbours being constructed would become "white elephants."

They indicated that while it was commendable that government was fulfilling its campaign promises with the commencement of the construction of the landing sites and harbours, they would be less useful if there were no fish landings.

The fishermen were speaking at an interactive session with journalists on a field trip to Axim last Thursday.

EU Training

The field trip, which had earlier taken the journalists to Saltpond Ankaful in the Central region formed part of a training workshop organised by the European Union for 15 selected journalists to create awareness of EU projects and support to the country.

The journalists were also given lessons on mobile journalism.

The trip was one of two field trips organised to give journalists the opportunity to assess projects being undertaken with support from the EU and to have practical use of the mobile journalism lessons learnt.

President Akufo-Addo last Wednesday cut the sod for the commencement of the construction of a mini-harbour and landing site at Axim. 

The sod-cutting ceremony, the President noted, is a symbolic one, marking the simultaneous start of the construction of other landing sites in Senya Beraku, Dixcove, Elmina, Moree, Mumford, Winneba, Gomoa Fetteh, Teshie and Keta.

The project set to be executed by China Harbour and Engineering Company over a 30-month period, would involve the construction of breakwater, a quay wall, dredging and ancillary facilities.

But some of the fishermen said the landing sites may have no canoes landing with fish.

Nana Kojo Pegu, Chief Fishermen of Axim Apewosika said the state of the fisheries must be restored first by ensuring that all illegalities at sea were reduced to the barest minimum.

He said the closed season did little to redeem the situation, saying "the situation has not changed and efforts must be concentrated at restoring the fishery resources."

The Western Regional General Secretary of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen's Council, Mr Michael Abakah-Edu, said building landing sites and harbours was good, but we must first restore the fishery resources.

The State

The government through the ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development lifted the ban on fishing after a month's closure but fishermen say they had not seen much improvement in the catches.

Madam Adwoa Atta, a fishmonger at Axim said many of her ovens were not in use because catches were low.

"Our lives are not the same. We get very little fish to buy and smoke for sale; business is bad," he added.

Mr Abakah-Edu said if politicians in general did not stop interfering in the fishing industry's illegalities and commit to fighting them, there would be sanity.

The Konkohemaa of Axim Apewosika, Nana Aba Ayam said people had left the community because some of them were in debt due to the depleting fish stocks.


Egya Kofi Sam spoke of industrial trawlers invading areas reserved for artisanal fishers, saying this had compelled some artisanal fishermen to adopt illegal practices to fish.

He called all stakeholders to do their part in restoring the stocks.