Fishermen at the Prampram Landing Beach in the Dangbe Traditional Area of the Greater Accra Region, have backed government’s policy for the 2018 closed season scheduled for August 7 to September 4, 2018, to save the industry from total collapse.
At a heavily attended press conference by the fisherman, canoe owners, fishmongers, assembly men, unit committee members they appealed to government to as a matter of urgency enforce the fisheries laws and regulations on illegal unreported and unregulated practices before, during and after the closed season in order to yield maximum benefits from the closed season.
Addressing the media, Assembly Member for West Lower Prampram, Solomon Djangmah said despite the decreasing fish landings, the number of marine canoes and boat fishing in Prampram alone is a little over 60 canoes in the year 2000 to over 300 artisanal canoes presently.
He added that the figure shows an increase of canoes over the period while fishing effort is very high, catch per unit effort is extremely low due to the large numbers which made the sector to face with crisis of overfishing of all stocks.
The situation, according to Solomon Djangmah is further alarmed by illegal fishing practices such as light fishing, blast/dynamite fishing, use of obnoxious chemicals to fish, use of small mesh size nets, trawlers fishing in near shore reserved for artisanal fisheries as well as pervasive use of monofilament nets in the marine sectors.
The practice, they said has made local and artisanal fisheries which mainly target the small pelagic fisheries namely; sardinella locally known as “kanklaman, antebo”, salmon locally referred to as “samman” and anchovies locally called “Amoni” or generally called the peoples fish constitutes over 80% of the landing of marine canoe fishermen.
Consequently, the fishermen contend that these groups of fish are not in abundance for catch in the waters currently and fears are that fishermen would be out of jobs if measures are not taken.
He said: “This is a crisis and it is threatening our livelihood and employment as fishermen here in Prampram. It is threatening the very existence of our community, national security, food and fish security, our national economy and the protein requirements of both the present and the future generations.”
Again, they were of the view that the sector provides direct and indirect jobs for over 2.5 million Ghanaians nationally especially the coastal dwellers that are fishermen and fish processors as well as their dependents and that as fishermen, they do a lot of catch during the month of August, but for some years now, there has been a drastic decline in their catch and fear they would be out of jobs if measures are not taken.
“This is what we do to take care of our families and also educate our children,” the fishermen said.
They contended that a time will come if action is not taken the fishing communities will be completely unable to sustain their livelihood because there would be no fish to catch.
The fisher folks professed that they would take the bitter pill now as it is one of the measures being undertaken to replenish fish stock to improve their livelihood and that of their communities.
The Prampram Landing Beach fishermen said it is against this backdrop that as fishermen they are convinced and have thrown their support behind the move to bring a lasting solution to the depleting fish stock in the waters and also bring down the hardships fisher folks face with.
They expressed delight with the assurance that during the “Homowo” festival they would be allowed to fish just for the occasion and then observe the closed season.