Fishing on the Weija reservoir is fast becoming a high-risk expedition for some fishermen who at the peril of their lives try to earn a living.
The reservoir upstream has become a hotspot for piracy where armed men in canoes rob fishermen of their catch and personal belongings, including fishing gear.
This practice has festered over the years due to an ongoing territorial fishing warfare where fishing communities upstream prevent fishers downstream from fishing in their territory.
Mr Andrews Tetteh-Kietey, the Assistant Chief fisherman of Tomefa, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the ongoing feud had created an enterprise for some recalcitrant youth around Machigani, Domeabra and Agbozome within the Weija reservoir enclave to commit heinous crimes.
Tomefa, located near Ngleshie Amanfro in the Ga South Municipal Assembly is a settler fishing community created during the damming of the Densu river in the 1970’s to form the Weija reservoir and the Weija dam.
It consists of fisherfolks from Ada in the Greater Accra region, Winneba in the Central region as well as Tefle, Sokpe and Anlo all in the Volta region.
Mr Tetteh-Kietey explained that in instances where a community member is attacked for supposedly invading the “territorial waters” of others, he said the leadership of the community might have to resort to the Police or dialogue with the chiefs to have their confiscated properties released.
“Sometimes we report to Amanfro police station, Accra or Anyaa police station,” he said.
In most cases where these attacks had not been sanctioned by the traditional authorities, he observed that fishermen aside losing their belongings, including canoes, usually got exposed to drowning, sustaining serious injuries or even death at the hands of local pirates on the water body.
Over the last four years, he said there had been about eight casualties sustained with the last four casualties sustained this year near Weija.
He was of the view that the water body is vested in the hands of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) to be managed and for that matter no one should claim ownership of the water body.
“This river helps a lot of us here to look after our children to attend their education and other things but the people at the river side sometimes make us confused (sic),” he said.
He has therefore appealed to the Government to intervene with needed steps to improve security and end the territorial feud among communities surrounding the water body.
When GNA visited the community on Thursday, some youth originating from Winneba had gathered by the shores of the reservoir to discuss a recent attack on their counterpart that took place last Saturday.
Narrating the ordeal, Mr Kofi Donkor, a fisherman, said their fishing nets were destroyed about two weeks ago by some individuals whom they confronted.
The confrontation, he said, led to a fight that warranted the arrest of some fisherfolk.
Mr Tetteh Dotse, the Tomefa Chief explained that there were instances where for customary reasons, fishing would not be allowed on certain days or within certain periods on the water body and so anyone found culpable would have his fishing gear seized.
But for the recent attacks, he noted that there was no such information about an “operation” and for that matter found the trend very worrying.
He called on the Government to also help the community by providing it with potable water, waste collection bins and a good road network.
A check at the Amanfro Police Station showed that the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) officer who handled reported cases from the community had been transferred from the station four years ago.
Attempts to get him to comment on the matter have so far proved futile.
By Issah Mohammed, GNA