A day’s Delegates Conference of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC) Volta Regional Chapter was on Tuesday held at Keta in the Keta Municipality.
In all, 75 delegates, comprising fish landing site Chief Fishermen and fishing company or boat owners mainly from the Keta and Ketu South Municipalities and Anloga District attended.
Key on the agenda was election of seven new executives to steer the affairs of the chapter for the next four years and ways to fight violation of regulations regarding the fishing industry.
Togbi Seth Abotsi, Chief Fisherman of Adina in Ketu South and Togbi Yaovi Gada retained their positions as the chapter Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively.
Tettey Etse Yao was elected the Organiser, Togbi Jupiter Kwabla, Treasurer, Togbi Doe Kekeshi, Financial Secretary, Togbi Emmanuel Tettey as Public Relations Officer and Seth Kede, Secretary.
The conference, lacking the fanfare commonly associated with other labour delegates conferences, was supported by the Far Ban Bo Project – a three-member European Union-funded NGO group – OXFAM, Friends of the Nation and Care International, involved in capacity building at the fisheries sector.
Togbi Abotsi, the re-elected Chairman, thanked the delegates for the confidence reposed in him and assured to help to sustain the fishing industry in the interest of children yet unborn.
He said he would closely relate with the authorities and the national GNCFC executives to eliminate dynamite and poisonous fishing even by Togolese fishermen, illegal trawling, light fishing and inappropriate net use.
He lauded a cooperative credit union brought by the Far Ban Bo Project for their women, which was catching up well among them and said it could be considered among the menfolk too.
Mr. Kwesi Johnson, Community Development Coordinator, Friends of the Nation, an NGO in Natural Resource Management Advocacy, and member of the Far Ban Bo Project, supervised the conference and the elections.
He declared the election outcome as preliminary until they were asserted by the GNACFC national council.
Mr Johnson cited poverty in fishing communities as key cause for fisher folks violating fishing laws, in addition to the non-enforcement of the regulations by authorities.
He said the communities were adequately engaged in a Sustainable Fisheries Development Project (SFDP), led by USAID that exposed them to the negative consequence of the bad fishing practices on the industry, themselves and their families.
Mr Johnson said project was to assist the Fisheries Commission, District Assemblies and community organisations such as the GNCFC to promote sustainable fisheries livelihood, for example fighting illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing as a crime against fish and humanity.