Fishermen in Apam in the Central Region have called on government to increase the supply of premix fuel to the area to enable them stay in business.
According to the fishermen, the supply of premix fuel has been irregular, hence driving many of them out of business as they cannot go to sea.
At a press conference in Apam on Friday, November 30, the linguist of the Apam Chief Fisherman, Ebusuapayin Kojo Mensah, said due to the irregular supply of the premix fuel, it has become like "cocaine" at the beach, adding that fishermen had to struggle to get it.
According to him, many fishermen at Apam are going through a lot of difficulties due to the irregular supply of the premix fuel.
Mr Amos Appiah (middle) addressing the press conference. With him are Ebusuapayin Kojo Mensah and Kofi Mensah.
On his part, the 2016 Gomoa West District Best Fisherman, Mr Amos Appiah said there are over 500 canoes at the beach which have been parked due to lack of premix fuel.
"There are about 500 canoes here, but we get very small quantity of the premix fuel," he said, pointing out that "because we don't get enough premix fuel, we cannot go far on the sea to get a good catch."
Mr Appiah said fishermen at Apam needs at least 12,000 barrels of premix fuel every week, but they are given only 3,000 barrels a week.
He alleged that even with the 3,000 barrels, the premix fuel committee keeps half for themselves and their cronies leaving many of the fishermen without the premix.
According to him, some of the premix committee members after taking the fuel, re-sell at higher prices.
Mr Appiah has, therefore, appealed to the government to at least, increase the supply of the premix from the current 3,000 barrels to 9,000 barrels.
He also called on the government to make outboard motors available to them whose motors have spoilt cannot go to the sea.
He said for almost two years now, fishermen cannot get outboard motors to buy, hence forcing many out of business.
“Many of the canoes here cannot go to the sea because they have problems with their outboard motors and they cannot get some to buy,” Mr Appiah said, stressing that fishermen had to spend over GH¢17,000 buying it from private individuals.
"We all have families….and we cannot stop working. It will be difficult for us to feed our families if we don’t go to the sea. Government must be interested in our work,” he said.
According to him, the industry employs a lot of people and that if government allows the industry unintended, it will create problems not only for the players but the country as a whole.
The 2017 Gomoa West Best Fishermen, Mr Kofi Mensah, said although they have been receiving the premix, it was not enough and expressed the hope that government would work to resolve the challenges confronting the sector.
Interestingly, whilst the press conference was ongoing, a tanker was offloading premix fuel for the fishermen.