General News of Saturday, 31 December 2016
17 fishermen have been arrested around the Tema Harbour area for engaging in light fishing in a dawn swoop by the Easter Naval Command.
A total of 33 generators were impounded during the swoop which was in collaboration with the Marine Police Unit and the Fisheries Enforcement Unit.
The arrest was effected during a dawn operation at high seas on Friday making it the second biggest arrest within a period of three years.
The arrested fishermen will be handed over to the marine police for further investigation and prosecution.
In an interview with Martin Asiedu-Dartey on TV3’s Midday Live, the Flag Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Command, Commodore Moses Beick-Baffoe said “the fishermen took advantage of the holidays thinking that our patrol vessels would not be there. So when we got the tip-off we deployed one vessel there and effected the arrest.”
Asked what happened to the other cases of arrests, the Commodore said “the earlier arrests were handed over to the Fisheries Enforcement Unit and the culprits were prosecuted.
“But along the line it was discovered that the fine imposed on such offenders was GHC 6,000 and the Commission realised that the amount was not deterrent enough so it has been reviewed and increased to a maximum of one million dollars (GHC4m) for such offences.
Light fishing is an illegal act where ship/canoe owners use powerful lights to attract fishes in the sea at night and catch them.
Although the act has been banned, some persons still engage in it forcing the authorities to intensify their patrols.
The naval command has cautioned fishermen to desist from indulging in the banned operations at high seas.