Members of the Anyako Fishermen Association at Anyako in the Keta Municipality have called for a swift resolution of illegal fishing issues in the area to end the year-long suffering without work.     

The group said since August 2019, some fishers were rendered jobless following a directive from the Assembly on the use of acceptable fishing gears in the Keta Lagoon, which led to the seizure of fishing nets for non-compliance.

The group is, therefore, blaming the Municipal Assembly and the Anyako Traditional Authority of discrimination against a section of the fisher-folks and keeping them out of job.     

At a meeting with the group at Anyako attended by representatives of the Fisheries Commission and the Ghana Navy and moderated by Mr. Kwesi Randolph Johnson of European Union-funded Far Ban Bo (Supporting Fisheries Livelihoods) Project in Keta to resolve the old “right of access to fishing” dispute, the group said members were being targeted.

“We have been taken out of a job by way of discrimination, while some of our colleague fishermen from the same town are allowed to do their fishing without any question,     

We do our work with small bundle fishing nets and the other faction also uses the same net size but very large bundles, which are cast across a large expanse of areas. They’re still fishing, we are not. This is beyond human comprehension,” Mr Felix Yao Nutor Zebey, the Chairman bemoaned.     

A member of the group, Madam Nancy Nanegbe, complained that the rights of members were being abused by the other faction disguised as guards through arrests even at home in the middle of the night and pleaded with the authorities to act.

 “Our main source of livelihood and sustenance in Anyako is fishing. This issue must be resolved quickly to stop the continuous suffering of our people. We are hungry.”     

In a separate meeting with Anyako chiefs, Torgbui Duklui Attipoe V, who spoke for the chiefs, said the traditional authorities sought to protect the fishery resource in Anyako so the people could earn a livelihood and that there would not be any respite for the minority Anyako Fishermen Association until they conform.     

According to him, this particular fishers numbering about 16 have their nets in a conical form with lead and mosquito nets underneath. After dragging the nets, they bring everything including the vegetation in the lagoon ashore, which is destructive.     

 “Attempts to get them to change their net to conform to other fishers who number about 164 failed. We even called a meeting at one point to resolve this but they walked out on us,” he said.

The Chiefs, however, agreed to propose a date on which to meet both factions to bring finality to the matter.     

Mr Johnson, who is acting in the resolution process as a private citizen and stakeholder in Sustainable Fisheries Management, expressed the hope that the issues would be resolved.

“I hope the resolution happens fast so the community people would work peacefully, legitimately and in harmony to earn their daily bread in an enabling environment,” he added.