The Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC)has called on the government to stop the illegal transshipment otherwise known as “Saiko” to save Ghana’s fisheries sector from imminent Collapse.
The call has become necessary due to the state of Ghana’s artisanal fisheries, which is near collapse, largely driven by the activities of industrial trawlers.
“The small pelagic fishery found within the Inshore Exclusive Zone(IEZ), which is the sole preserve of artisanal fishers, is what these Industrial trawlers target, harvest, freeze them into pallets of fish, and sell to agents at high seas, who in turn sell to the fishing communities for huge profits, whilst artisanal fishers wallow in abject poverty and hopelessness due to the wanton destruction of their livelihoods”.
This was in a news release issued and jointly signed by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the GNCFC in the Central Region, Nana Kweigyah and Secretary to the Council in the Region, Mr.Kenneth Arthur at the end of a week-long peaceful protest of Saiko fishing in Ghana’s waters at Cape Coast.
According to the release,”Saiko is severely destructive, and a threat to food security and nutrition, a threat to job and income security, and practically a threat to national security”.
It recalled that in 2017, scientists warned that the small pelagic could collapse in the year 2020 if drastic measures were not taken. “Sadly we are in 2020, and in our bumper harvest season (July-September), but artisanal fishers make little or no catch from fishing expeditions, a confirmation of the warning by our revered scientists”, the release stated.
The GNCFC said though the one-week silent protest ended on Tuesday, August 18, 2020, the agitation would continue and that the council would not relent in her efforts at saving Ghana’s artisanal fisheries.
“We would continually mobilize fishers and other stakeholders to demand that the government purge the industry of the Saiko menace.”
The council declared that ‘the time is now and now is the time” to salvage the ailing sea and the livelihoods of millions of Ghanaians.