Fishermen mending their fishing net
Fishermen mending their fishing net

Fishermen in Winneba have agreed to stop light fishing, but expect the government to tackle the issue holistically within all fishing communities in order to achieve the desired results.

They have also called on the Government to remain resolute in fighting illegal fishing practices as it being done with illegal mining (galamsey).

According to them, their efforts in halting light fishing and other illegal fishing methods would be meaningless if their counterparts in other parts of the country continued to practice it.

Therefore, they said it was imperative that the Government strengthened its monitoring on the country’s waters with more naval officers to completely curb the menace.

The fishermen said serious sanctions must be impose on culprits to serve as deterrence to others. Fishermen in the coastal districts have adopted light fishing as a quick method of catching fish by using generators and bulbs with more than 2,000 watts, which were often laid into the sea.

The light and the heat normally attracted the attention of the fishes so that when the fishermen cast their nets, they caught them in large quantities, including the fingerlings.

At a durbar to make known the decision of the Winneba Fishermen Council, Nenyi Kwaku Mbir, Chief Fisherman, noted that although the Government had banned light fishing, some fishing communities were practicing it.

It was supervised by the Development Action Association (DAA) under the Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The Chief Fisherman called on all fishermen across the length and breadth of the various landing sites in the country to support the Government to stop light fishing and unsustainable fishing practices for flourished fishing expeditions.

He indicated that the Fishermen Council in Winneba would formed a taskforce to reinforce their stance on the issue and warned other fishermen who came to their waters to desist from engaging in such harmful practices.

“Let us commit ourselves to a sustainable future, let our children benefit as we benefited from our parents and grandparents. I Nana Mbir, the Chief Fisherman of Winneba will lead this campaign and deal with any fisherman who goes contrary to this directive,” he declared.

Mr Joseph Donkor Bonney, a member of the Winneba Fishermen Council in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), recounted how fisher folks used to experience bumper catches after their fishing expeditions in years past.

He said same could not be said in recent times because fishermen had resorted to light fishing and other illegal means to catch fish.

The situation, he lamented, had brought hardships to the fishing communities and was threatening their survival as they could not adequately take care of their families.

Mrs Lydia Sosu, Executive Director of DAA, said the practice of using illegal methods in fishing needed to stop to compliment the efforts of SFMP to rebuild the sea stock for increased fish catch.

She commended the fishermen for the bold decision they have taken to stop light fishing and all forms of illegal fishing methods and expressed the hope that fishermen in other parts of the country would follow suit.