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General News of Thursday, 16 June 2011

Source: GNA

Minister of Agric explains Fisheries Act

Accra, June 16, GNA - Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture on Wednesday said although the provisions of the Fisheries Act 2002, (Act 625) did not specifically ban the use of light for fishing, the act had negative impact on fish stock.

Speaking on the floor of Parliament Mr Ahwoi explained that on August 3 2010 the House promulgated the Fisheries Regulations 2010 (LI 1968) which per regulations 11 (1) (a) specifically mentioned inter-alia, aggregation o= f fish by light attraction as a prohibited fishing method.

Sub-section (3) of Act 625 also provides sanctions for those who contravene the provisions of Sub-Sections (1) and (2). He said the Fisheries Commission had put in place a number of measures to stop the use of light for fishing.

He said the Commission had carried out sensitisation programmes in the Central, Volta, Greater Accra, and Western Regions, to educate fishers on the Fisheries Regulations.

Mr Ahwoi said Ghana Navy also patrol the waters to arrest offenders, adding that such an exercise in conjunction with the Fisheries Commission led to the apprehension of 46 fishing fleets in November 2010. He said operators of 31 canoes, 13 inshore vessels, and two tuna vessels have been arraigned.

Mr Ahwoi said to equip the Ghana Navy to intensify patrols of the coastal and inland waters of the country, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture had procured two patrol vessels, which were commissioned in China in April and expected in Ghana September. He said the Ministry had established Community Task Forces at various landing beaches to assist in the arrest of fishers who contravene the fisheries law and regulations. Three weeks ago the task force arrested nine fishermen who were using light for fishing at Prampram.

He said the full profile of the arrest in respect of violations such a= s fishing without valid license, trawlers fishing within the 30-meter zone, fishing with undersized nets included 31 canoes, 18 inshore vessels, 16 trawlers and two tuna vessels.

He said section 94 of the Fisheries Act, 2002 (Act 625) provides for the establishment of the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Enforcement Unit which is responsible among other things for the monitoring, control an= d surveillance of all fishing operations within the fishery waters.