The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Elizabeth Afoley-Quaye, has disappointed the entire coastal belt of the country with her bad policies, Mr Kwabena Badu, who represents a group of fishermen at the Elmina Landing Beach, has said.
According to him, the minister takes decisions without considering the collective interest of fishermen in Ghana.
Mr Badu’s criticism of the minister comes on the back of her announcement, on Friday, 13 July 2018, of a one-month ban on all fishing from 7 August to 4 September, except for Tuna, to allow the fish stock to recover.
During the closed season, anybody found doing industrial fishing risks being slapped with a fine between $500,000 and $2 million.
The minister said during the announcement of the ban that: “It is needful that people are sanctioned when they don’t comply with the law but that is not the interest of government, our duty is to make people comply voluntarily to the closed season.”
“A person who engages in fishing during a closed season declared, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than $500,000 and not more than $2million in respect of a local industrial or semi-industrial vessel; or 100 penalty units and not more than 500 penalty units in any other case and in addition, any catch, fishing gear or vessel or any combination of them used in the commission of the offence, maybe forfeited to the state.”
But Mr Badu told Ghana Yensom on Accra 100.5FM hosted by Chief Jerry Forson on Monday, 16 July that: “We are disappointed in the Minister, Afoley Quaye, for the kind of polices she has introduced. She gathers NGO practitioners in hotels and holds workshop for them rather than spending those resources in meeting the fishermen on the programmes and policies of the government.
“How can you ban all fishing activities in the country and say the spot fine is between $500,000 and $ 2 million? We are deeply disappointed.
“The entire coastal belt across the country controls 18 per cent of Ghana’s population, and, so, we want to tell the government that elections will soon come and we will also have a say,” he added.