Some Canoe Fishermen in Tema appeal to Ministry of Fisheries


Some Canoe Fishermen at the Tema Fishing Harbour have appealed to Ms Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to intervene in an incident between them and some Ghana Navy officials, who seized a quantity of fish from them.

Mr. Joshua Ashitey Larbi, one of the four fishermen affected, told the media in Tema that they went to sea on Tuesday, June 27, at about 1700 hours with the hope of returning before the commencement of the close fishing season on Saturday.

Mr. Larbi said unfortunately their outboard motor developed some fault while s at sea, which delayed their movement, so they managed to reach the Tema Port anchorage around the breakwaters at about 1200 hours on Saturday.

The canoe fishermen who alleged that they were accosted by the Naval officers on board a Ghana Navy Vessel, have also appealed to the hierarchy of the Navy to release their fish stock and some unspecified amount of money they seized from them.

On Saturday, July 1, 2023, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture performed a ceremony to officially commence this year’s closed season, which spans from July 1 to July 31 for artisanal and inshore fishers, while industrial trawlers would have theirs between July 1 and August 31, 2023.

Mr Larbi said they spotted a Ghana Navy Ship (GNS) with P36 inscribed at its back, which initially passed them but returned and approached them of which the Naval personnel on board questioned them on their mission at sea at the time.

He said they informed the Naval personnel about their faulty motor, which had kept them at sea, and asked for their help.

He said unfortunately, the Navy personnel, instead of helping them, told them that it was the close season and therefore they should not have been at sea, and subsequently, allegedly pointed guns at them and sprayed hot water on them.

Mr. Larbi said because he challenged them, he was taken to the top of the vessel and instructed to engage in some physical exercise, after which he was tied up, while his colleagues were ordered to open their hatch and offload their fish catch to the GNS, which they took away.

He said they reported the incident at the Pioneer Police Station but were directed by the police personnel to make a report to the Chief Fisherman, who at the time was not available but they subsequently managed to inform the Tema East Member of Parliament.

Mr. Edem Kumedro, one of the affected fishermen, corroborated the narration of his colleague, saying that, they wanted their catch back as it was not a deliberate action for them to go to sea but rather to return since they had been at sea for some days ahead of the close season.

Mr. Kumedro said they were law abiding citizens who always obey regulations and therefore would not go against the close season and pleaded with the Ghana Navy to release their items to them.

Meanwhile, Mr. Issac Ashai Odamtten, Tema East Member of Parliament, confirmed to the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Tema that he followed up with the Eastern Naval Command, where he was told the commander of the vessel in question had been asked to brief the Flag Officer Commanding to ascertain what happened on board.

By Laudia Sawer, GNA


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