National

EU vows to ensure illegal trade of Saiko in Ghana is stopped

The European Union says it is ready to take all measures to ensure that the illegal trade of Saiko is stopped to save the fishing industry in Ghana from imminent collapse.

According to the EU, government has a greater commitment to fight the practice that is fast destroying the fisheries resources.

Team Leader and Head of the Sector Infrastructure and Sustainable Development Section, EU Delegation in Ghana, Roberto Schiliro warns the practice of Saiko would spell doom for the country if the government does not act boldly and decisively to end it.

Saiko is one of the destructive forms of illegal fishing, where bigger fishing trawlers target the staple catch of small-scale canoe fishers, transfer them to specially adapted boats at sea for sale at local markets while the rest is thrown back into the sea, poisoning the sea.

The practice is said to be destroying the fisheries sector and knocking thousands of coastal dwellers out of their livelihoods.

In 2017 alone, the Environmental Justice Foundation estimated, the Saiko trade took around 100,000 tonnes of fish, worth over US$ 50 million when sold at the landing site.

Mr Schiliro expressed disappointment that the activities of Saiko still goes on openly and persistently on Ghanaian waters.

“It’s appalling and heartbreaking how Saiko is destroying Ghana’s fisheries resources.”

Roberto Schiliro says the practice is fast depleting the fish stock in Ghana’s marine waters and must be tackled with all seriousness by government.

He pledged the commitment of the EU to end illegal fishing practices in all forms including; Saiko and called on all Ghanaians to join the fight for greater sustainability of the country’s fish resources.

There have been waves of protests by fishermen in Ghana’s four coastal regions after the airing of a JoyNews’ hotline documentary ‘Saiko: When the last fish is caught’ that investigated the activities of industrial trawlers on high seas.

Among other revelations, the industrial trawlers were caught using under-sized nets to catch small fishes (a preserve of local fishermen) only to throw the dead or undesirable fishes back into the sea.

The artisanal fishing represents an important portion of Ghana’s economy which employs over three million of Ghana’s population.