Torgbui Michael Bumegbe, Chairman of Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Committee at Kedzikope in the Keta Municipality of the Volta Region, has challenged chief fishermen to end fishing infractions in their areas.
He said chief fishermen had critical roles to play in ensuring that fisher folks at landing beaches in coastal communities adhered to acceptable fishing practices to protect the fisheries resource.
Torgbui Bumegbe, who is also a chief fisherman for the Kedzikope, was speaking at an IUU Community Management Group (CMG) meeting, which had Fisheries Commission officials, community development activists among others in attendance to dialogue on enforcing voluntary compliance of Fisheries Laws and to promote effective collaboration between regulators and fishing communities.
He said the use of under-size mesh, light fishing, fishing with explosives, fish trans-shipment-‘saiko’ and other fishing infractions could become practices of the past, if chief fishermen took control of their landing beaches and banned or reported fishers found engaging in the illegalities.
The chief fisherman cited Kedzikope, an IUU fishing-free area as an example and said other parts of the Region and the country could achieve that feat with deliberate effort, disclosing, Kedzikope IUU-CMG was monitoring other landing beaches and that “some four chief fishers have been identified and we intend to take them on so that they can pay for the infractions”.
Mr Forceman Doe Williams, Founder, My Shepherd International Foundation, called on fishers to police each other and report cases of illegal fishing to the right quarters for action against them to deter others.
Mr Kwesi Johnson of Friends of the Nation, Keta office, said implementation of closed season and allowing specified numbers of artisanal boats on Ghana’s seas were just a few management measures and that it was important fishers engaged in best practices to avoid the collapse of the fishing industry.
The IUU-CMGs formed part of a four-year EU funded fisheries governance project, ‘Far Ban Bo’ (protecting the fishing livelihoods) being implemented by CARE (the lead), Friends of the Nation and Oxfam in coastal Ghana.