The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD), has debunked calls made by some fishers of their neglect in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic stating that Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) have been distributed to fishers in Volta and Greater Accra Regions through the MMDEs.
Assistant Public Relations Officer, Nana Ama Bonah speaking on Adom FM’s ‘Burning Issues’ programme, explained that distribution will continue subsequently in the other regions.
“Donation of Covid-19 materials have been given to fishers in Greater Accra and Volta Regions. So far, 25000 face masks, 1000 tissues, chest freezers to reduce post-harvest losses have been shared along with some fishing communities. Other regions will be catered for in the coming weeks. The fisheries officers are also on the ground educating fishers, ” she explained.
The Chairman of the Tema Ghana Inshore Fishermen Association, Joe Kramo was hopeful of bringing the Covid19 situation under control.
“We are doing our part, but the impact has been heavy on us. We had to close one of our main auditoriums at the Tema Fish Market because of the crowd. We have to manage the situation,” Joe Kramo assured.
A member of Canoe Owners Association Adjetey Tawiah pleaded with the government to disinfect the fishing markets if possible before the restrictions are completely lifted. He outlined measures they are putting in place to contain the disease as restrictions are eased.
“We had already planned for a shift system to reduce the crowd and that will continue; I have directed the women to leave immediately after selling their fish. Initially, people didn’t understand the severity of the virus but now they are wearing the nose masks. I would have wished all the fishers would remain in their own jurisdiction without fish mongers moving around because that will spread the disease easily”, Adjetey Tawiah stated.
The fishermen also called on government to introduce subsidies on electricity for cold store operations in the future. This, they believe will make the cold stores operate with ease.
“ I know that the Prampram cold store is now back, but the key issue is with electricity bills. We are calling for subsidy on the electricity tariffs when they are fully operational. It will be difficult to use it at commercial level if subsidies are not given. The cold stores will be useful during the peak season in July or August, Joe Kramo pleaded.
Although the Assistant PRO of MoFAD couldn’t give details on how soon the cold stores will be ready, she indicated that work is ongoing to repair the cold stores dotted across the fishing landing sites.