The Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has expressed determination to enforce the fisheries management laws and regulations despite periodic attacks by some disgruntled fishermen in some coastal communities.
The National Coordinator of the Unit, Naval Captain Emmanuel Kwafo, told a press conference in Takoradi on Tuesday that fisher folks who contravened the fisheries laws and engaged in criminal acts by attacking personnel of the Unit would be arrested and prosecuted.
The comment followed a recent attack on the Western Sector Fisheries Enforcement Unit by some aggrieved fishermen at New Amanful in the Ahanta West District last Wednesday, August 13,when the Unit seized some illegal fishing nets (monofilament nets) during a monitoring exercise.
The team was attacked with stones, sticks and various projectiles and in the process a Marine Police Officer was injured while two Navy vehicles and one Fisheries Commission truck had their windscreens and tail lights smashed.
Captain Kwafo said the exercise is not targeting any particular group but a nationwide one being carried out along the country’s coastline to protect the fisheries resources from depletion and, therefore, entreated the fisher folks to exercise restraints and cooperate with the Unit for a successful exercise.
He said the Unit was inaugurated in October last year to inject sanity into the fishing industry through activities such as sea and land patrols as well as installation of vessel monitoring system and other electronic monitoring system on industrial trawlers to check illegal fishing.
Captain Kwafo said since the passage of the Fisheries Act, Act 625 extensive education had been carried out at the various coastal communities to sensitize the fisher folks on the fisheries laws and regulations.
He therefore entreated the fishermen to get acquainted with the laws to avoid unnecessary confrontation with the Unit.
Captain Kwafo explained that the protection of the fish stock would inure to the benefit of the fisher folks and ensure the sustainability of the fisheries resources for the present and future generation.
“I want to take this opportunity to sound a caution to all fishermen that the impunity must stop because our duty is to enforce the fisheries laws with their cooperation and restore some sanity in the fishing industry,” he stressed.
The Western Regional Chairman of the Ghana National Canoe and Fishermen Council, Nana Kojo Conduah, apologized on behalf of the fishermen who attacked the Unit and pledged the support and cooperation of fisher folks in the Region towards a successful monitoring exercise. GNA