President John Mahama has tasked chief fishermen at the various landing sites to form watch-dog committees to help expose fishermen who engage in illegal fishing activities.

He decried the use of dynamite, chemicals and light by some fishermen, cautioning that the government would continue to empower the Marine Police to arrest fishermen who used unorthodox fishing methods.

President Mahama gave the warning when he distributed 1,000 Yamaha outboard motors at a subsidised cost to fishermen at James Town in Accra yesterday.

The consignment forms part of 3,000 outboard motors to be distributed to fishermen across the country.

While the government bears 30 per cent of the cost of the outboard motors, the beneficiaries will bear the remaining 70 per cent.

The gesture is in fulfilment of a promise the President made in his State of the Nation Address in February this year.

Support for fishermen

He said the distribution of the 1,000 outboard motors formed the first phase of the exercise, while the next consignment of outboard motors would be distributed to inland fishermen along the Volta Lake by the end of the year.

He said the government placed premium on the fishing industry because it provided jobs for two million people and reaffirmed its resolve to support the setting up of more cold stores and landing beaches.

President Mahama added that with the support of the World Bank, six landing sites would be constructed by the end of the year at Teshie and James Town, in Accra and Manford in the Central Region and other locations, with more to be constructed in other coastal areas.

Fish consumption

He said 950,000 metric tonnes of fish was consumed in the country every year, out of which 450,000 metric tonnes was imported at a cost of $300 million.

He explained that inland and marine fishing, as well as aquaculture, produced only 400,000 metric tonnes of fish, which meant that Ghana did not produce enough fish to meet its demand.

It was against that background that President Mahama asked fishermen to employ methods that would not deplete fish species.

The President announced the establishment of a new fish processing plant at Elmina in support of the industry.

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Ms Sherry Ayittey, reiterated the President’s call on fishermen to desist from using illegal means to fish and expressed the government’s commitment to bridge the fish deficit.

She said the government would continue to play its part towards ensuring food security in the country and urged the fishermen to replicate its effort by making use of the outboard motors to provide more fish for the country.

The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo, advised the beneficiaries to take proper care of the equipment to ensure their longevity.

Source: Graphic

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