Sekondi (W/R), May 27, GNA – Fishermen in Sekondi have admitted that light fishing is the best option for them since they are faced with great competition with other foreigners who engage in the practice, referred to as ‘Saiko’.
Saiko is an illegal system where foreign trawlers stay on the sea for longer period doing licensed fishing but catch unauthorised fishes and sell them as by-catch to members of the By-Catch Collectors Association right on the seas.
This practice, according to the fisher folks, prevents their normal fishes to swim to their catchment areas and so when they go to sea, they do not get the usual catches.
The fishermen also admitted that some of them do dynamite fishing, another form of illegal practice, which is said to poison the fish and when consumed by humans, could gradually cause cancer.
‘We know this practice is not acceptable, but that is what is sustaining us in this business.
‘The Chinese are all over the sea engaging in Saiko fishing and selling them right on the sea. When Saiko is stopped by the authorities, then we can also be stopped,’ Mr Francis Kwesi Eshun, the Chairman of the Ghana Inshore Fishing Association told journalists on Thursday.
Mr Eshun was speaking during a tour of the Albert Bosomtwi-Sam Fishing Harbour in Sekondi to know at first hand the issues affecting fishing at the place.
The three- day tour was organised by USAID/University of Cape Coast’s (UCC) Centre for Coastal Management under a five-year funding support from USIAD.
Mr Eshun noted that the fish stock had decreased due to other negative activities like fishing with monofilament nets and mesh, which were all not approved for fishing.
He said it would take a full implementation for the fishing regulations and laws to help reduce the negative fishing practices.
Mr Emmanuel Nii Botchwey, the Secretary of the Ghana Inshore Fishermen Association suggested that sniffer dogs could be deployed by the marine police to detect whether dynamite were being used by fishers before and after they go fishing.
He said the usage of dynamite in fishing was dangerous, alleging that most of the young men in the area have been diagnosed with lung cancer at the hospitals.
Nana Prah, Chief Fisherman of Sekondi landing Habour admitted that nature plus human activities were causing the fish stock to dwindle.
He however blamed the authorities for not providing adequate information to the fishers on fish culture that would have enabled them to understand the need to engage in proper practices.
Dr Denis Worlanyo Ahetor, the Director for the Centre for Coastal Management of UCC, said the project was basically to build the capacity of researchers and professionals who engage in policy decisions on coastal management to ensure that they design the right policies in the governance for the coastal zones.
‘We hope that the process will help revamp the coastal zones and influence policies as well,’ he said.
Dr Ahetor said that elsewhere in the world, coastal areas bring in a lot of income because of its tourism potential and that Ghana could also do same as a means of promoting the eco-tourism potential in the coastal areas.
He therefore said the media was being involved to understand the issues and help champion the issues to help improve the coastal belt.
By Lydia Asamoah/Elsie Appiah Osei, GNA