Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has announced it will not allow 15 percent landings of by-catch, popularly known as ‘saiko fish,’ at the Tema Port effective September, 2022.

The Sector Minister, Mavis Hawa Koomson, disclosed this when she shared some relief items to fishermen in the Central Region to cushion them in the period of closed season.

It follows complaints by some fishermen that the Ministry has allegedly allowed industrial trawlers to land such catches although saiko has been banned.

According to the Minister, one of the remarkable things she has done since assuming office is banning the illegal transshipment of fish at sea.

But she said the industrial trawlers have taken advantage of the situation and are landing saiko fish at the Tema port to thwart the effort of the Ministry.

Addressing fisherfolk at Elmina, Hawa Koomson indicated that she will deal with the happening and completely eliminate the catching of small pelagic.

“After stopping them from engaging in Saiko, they then resorted to landing them at the Tema port. I have uncovered their acts and so I will cancel such arrangements and any other arrangements with respect to saiko. They can’t also catch the fish and dump them.

“They know the appropriate nets to use but it’s because of selfishness and greed. We have done gear audit and given a ministerial directive. When we cancel the 15% by-catch, it will compel them to use the required gears for fishing.”

Mavis Hawa Koomson said her Ministry will toughen the sanction regime and make it more difficult for people to violate the fisheries laws.

“Our VMS will monitor and cite them for engaging in dumping at sea and if they are caught, they will pay $1 million dollars. The Ministry has decided to give subsidies on the buying of the nets to enable the fishers buy the required nets at a heavily subsidised price.

“Our leadership is engaging with the fishers to make them get the numbers. After doing all this and you still use the illegal fishing nets for fishing, the law shall deal with you,” she stated.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development is scheduled to open the sea to artisanal fishers on August 1 after a month closure of the sea.