A Legislative Instrument (LI) that would empower only Landing Beach Committees to manage premix fuel allocation to registered fishermen is expected to be out soon, Madam Sherry Ayitey, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, said.
The LI, which would be gazetted, is currently before the Attorney General’s Department and when approved would cease the interference of protocol and middlemen in the premix fuel allocation in order to bring sanity in the fisheries sector.
Madam Ayitey said this at a meeting with fisher folks at the Western Regional Coordinating Council in Sekondi.
In order to ensure efficiency and transparency, she admonished the executives of the fishermen to register their cooperatives and emboss their canoes with their group names for easy identification.
Madam Ayitey warned that only chief fishermen and their executives were permitted by law to distribute the premix fuel to the entire fishermen operating in fishing communities.
?No more protocol or middlemen, premix is for fishermen, period,? she said.
To ensure that the premix fuel got to the rightful destination, the Minister directed that tracking devices be fixed on tankers carrying the commodity and must be inspected by qualified officials enroute.
She, however, warned the fishermen to cease using unapproved fishing gear and illegal practices like light and chemicals for fishing and rather adopt healthy fishing practices to ensure wholesome fish was supplied to consumers.
The Minister announced that the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) had imported 800 outboard motors for distribution to fishermen while another 15,000 were expected to be imported.
For all fishermen to benefit from the programme, Madam Ayittey encouraged those who received the previous ones to pay for them.
To boost business in the fisheries sector, the Minister said a Japanese grant had been secured to carry out expansion works at the Sekondi Fishing Harbour.
When completed, the harbor would have a cold store, landing beaches, and a fish market among other things while it would create about 5,000 jobs.
According to Madam Ayitey, negotiations were underway with the oil companies operating at the Jubilee Field off Cape Three Points in the Western Region to find alternative livelihoods for fishing communities whose income had been restricted by regulation.
Fishermen have been restricted by law from fishing closer to the oil installations as they could be damaged to cause disaster and this had slowed down their source of livelihood.
The six coastal communities are Ahanta West, Ellembelle, Jomoro, Western Nzema, Shama and Sekondi-Takoradi.