Omanhen of Elmina to crusade against illegal fishing

The Omanhen of Elmina Traditionl Area, Nana Kodwo Kondua II has vowed to wage a relentless crusade against illegal and unregulated fishing practices as a way of rebuilding the marine fish stocks through the adoption of sustainable fishing practices.

In this regard, the Omanhen has placed a ban on illegal fishing activities in the area and cautioned fishermen against indulging in the menace.

He said defaulters would have their equipment seized and burnt and also face stiffer sanction without any favour to serve as deterrent to others.

Nana Kondua made the pronouncement during the launch of a Community Action Plan (CAP) to tackle the menace of illegal fishing, child labour and trafficking, at Elmina in the Central Region on Monday.

The Action Plan is being supervised by the Central and Western Fishmongers Improvement Association (CEWEFIA) under the Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

It would among others seek to eliminate unapproved fishing practices and promote modern methods of fishing, preservation, processing, packaging and storing to provide diversified sources of livelihood for the community members who were mostly fishermen and fishmongers.

According to the Omanhen, most fishermen in the area engaged in the use of poisonous substances that were threat to human health when consumed.

He encouraged the public to volunteer timely information on unscrupulous fishermen who engaged in illegal fishing to the security agencies for appropriate actions to be taken against them.

Nana Kondua observed that fish stock in the sea had decreased due to the continuous negative fishing practices and advised against the use of unapproved methods of fishing such as monofilament nets and mesh, dynamite and chemicals among others to save the ecology from further destruction.

Additionally, he called for a holistic approach devoid of any political interference in the fight against illegal fishing practices and urged all stakeholders to adopt lawful means to resolve the challenges bedevilling the progress of the fisheries sector.

Mr Kofi Agbogah, Fisheries Adviser to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), indicated that the fisheries industry could create wealth when properly managed and urged Ghanaians, especially fishermen, to do more to protect the sea.

He suggested the deployment of marine police to detect whether harmful and unauthorised substances were used by fishers before and after going for fishing.

Mr. Agbogah also admonished the law enforcement agencies, chiefs and district assemblies to ensure strict enforcement of bye-laws and regulations governing the sector to fight, deter and prevent illegal fishing to ensure orderliness in the industry.

Mrs Victoria Koomson, Founder of the Central and Western Fishmongers Association (CEWEFIA), praised the Chiefs and the people in the area for their resilience to wage a relentless war against the menace.

She said CEWEFIA would continue to collaborate with institutional stakeholders to end the nuisance of overfishing and over exploitation of the sector, which was on the verge of collapse.