The Ghana Tuna Association (GTA) has called on the government to support fishing vessel operations by ensuring that they get fuel at a reduced price compared to what is on the market.
Mr Frank Aihoon, the GTA President, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Tema said tuna vessels were in dire need of support as the cost of operation was too high.
Mr Aihoon said the fuel should be made a little cheaper for them just as it pertained in some other countries, stressing that for instance that whereas, Senegal sells fuel at USD$800 per metric to vessels, those in Ghana, buy theirs at about USD$1,200 which he described as too costly.
He stated that apart from other expenditure, the vessels, especially the tuna ones used a lot of fuel to move around during fishing. “Unlike trawlers, in tuna fishing, you have to search for the fish before you can catch them, meaning you have to use a lot of fuel moving around until you found their location,” he said.
The GTA President said due to climate change, the fish have moved far meaning, more fuel must be used by the tuna vessels for days before locating them. He added that due to the high cost of running, out of the over 20-plus licensed pole and line vessels in Ghana, only six were currently in operation while the rest have been scrapped.
He explained that pole and line fishing involve locating the fish, putting bait into the sea to attract them, and then fishing them one after the other.
Mr Aihoon said vessels, must first have to catch fish that would be used as bait to catch the tuna, as according to him most of the time, the ones they bought from the canoes had gone bad before they sell making it difficult to be used as bait as the tuna moved away from it when it is in a bad state.
This he explained add up to their cost, in addition to the high cost of food, a vessel that often has a crew between 24 and 32 needed about GH¢80,000.00 worth of food for just one trip.