Nana Kwesi Ackon, the Chief Fisherman of Ngyeresia, a fishing community near Sekondi, has appealed to government to halt light sea fishing and pair trawling activities to enable fishing expeditions flourish in the community.
“Government must therefore ban the importation of special fishing nets which trap fishes including; smaller ones that are supposed to be left out for future reproduction.”
According to him, light sea fishing had become a major economic setback to fisher folks in the community as it had crippled their efforts to cater for themselves and their children to complete their education. Nana Ackon was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of a day’s sensitisation forum at Ngyeresia , a predominantly fishing community in the Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolis of the Western Region.
The programme, which was dubbed, “Saving Our Pearls of The Future”, was organised and sponsored by Engage Now Africa (ENA), an international Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) which seeks among other things, to eradicate poverty and modern slavery in Africa. The Chief Fisherman told the GNA that fisher folks used to experience a bumper catch after their fishing expeditions, but the situation had dwindled drastically due to the advent of sea light fishing.
This situation, he noted, had brought untold hardships to the community thereby threatening their survival since there was no alternative means of livelihood for the community. The Director of Engage Now Africa (ENA) in charge of Children’s Education, Mr David Kofi Awusi ascertained from the forum that children in the community do not pursue education due to lack of funds.
It also came to light that school children patronised funeral celebrations and spent precious hours outside their homes during the night. Teenage pregnancy was also rife as parents shirked their responsibilities.
On the way forward, Mr.Awusi said they would institute a scholarship package to promote education in the community and also asked the chief to release land for them to construct a library project to engage school children.
He urged government to enforce the bye-laws that would prohibit the activities of sea light fishing in the country. Mr Awusi asked parents not engage their children in child labour and other activities that could jeopardise their future.
Nana Ebo Koomson, a Resource Person with the NGO told the parents that children under 18 years must not be allowed to drop out of school to engage in sea fishing.
He said elsewhere in advanced countries, children who desired to go into fishing as their occupation, even held first degrees from tertiary institutions which helped them to invest their finances into other lucrative ventures.
Nana Koomson said ENA had already engaged eight Districts in the Western Region for the first time with the Ngyeresia community as the second point of call.
He impressed upon the parents to invest in the education of their children and reap the benefits in future.
The Chief of Ngyeresia,Nana Kwamina Awortwe thanked the NGO for the laudable initiative to ensure that their children were enrolled in schools and continued to the highest level to become responsible citizens in society.