The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has condemned the recent attacks on personnel of the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) by a mob at Akplabanya in the Ada District of the Greater Accra region.
The personnel, who went to the village of Akplabanya on September 27th, to perform their lawful duties were attacked with cutlasses, stones, paddles and other items, seriously injuring 11 personnel and destroying a bus belonging to the Enforcement Team.
The chiefs and elders of Akplabanya have agreed to bear the cost of the damages, the Ministry noted.
Addressing a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, Ms Sherry Ayittey, Fisheries Minister said similar attack were meted out to personnel of the Western Sector of FEU in August, who embarked on their normal patrol that took them to New Amanful, a suburb of Takoradi in the Western region.
She explained that in both incidents, as the teams embarked on the arrest and seizing of some illegal nets and monofilament nets being used in clear disregard of existing regulations, as well as generators used to power lighting to fish, the mob attacked the personnel.
She said in both of these attacks, several policemen and Ghana Navy Personnel were injured. Vehicles belonging to the Ministries of Defence and Fisheries were also badly destroyed.
The Minister has therefore emphasized the Ministry’s resolve to stamp out illegal fishery practices that have turned Ghana into a net importer of fish.
She said when the Fisheries Act 625 of 2002 was passed, it established the monitoring, control, surveillance and Enforcement Unit of the Fisheries Commission and that the FEU was formed last year to work to sanitize the fishing industry to the benefit of the fishermen themselves and the entire country.
“The Fisheries Enforcement Unit will therefore continue its work of enforcing Ghana’s fishery law and regulations. Fishermen and everyone engaged in fishery related activities must therefore be prepared to obey the necessary laws. Those who are found to be breaking the law will be dealt with accordingly”, Ms Ayittey noted.
She further explained the FEU works to ensure the removal of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, not targeting any particular sector of the industry but all sectors across board, and this fit so well with the mandate of regulating the exploitation of the fisheries resources, ensuring sustainability “to enable the present and generations yet unborn to benefit from this natural resources”
She urged fishermen to work with the Ministry to make the exercise successful for their own good and that of the nation.
Ms Ayittey announced that the sector Ministry was undertaking several projects including the construction of modern cold stores at various places, importation of adequate fishing nets into the Ghanaian market, purchasing of outboard-motors and patrol boats as well as getting a research vessel to conduct the necessary research that would help boost the industry.
Meanwhile, the Minister has announced that a number of canoe and trawler companies have been arrested and fined various moneys for different offences including unauthorized transshipment, fishing with unauthorized mesh net and fishing in unauthorized areas.
She advised defaulters to pay up or to be prosecuted.
Captain Emmanuel Kwafo, National Coordinator off Fisheries Enforcement Unit, said investigations into the attacks were on-going to bring the perpetrators to book. GNA