Local fishermen on Monday met with journalists and presented vivid pictures of pair trawling still continuing in Ghana’s waters.

They said the evidence was gathered by a spy expedition they undertook in response to a challenge thrown to them by the Ministry of Fisheries to provide evidence of pair trawling.

The fishermen used two canoes on the spy mission at Elmina, Axim and Half Assin and took photographs of fishing boats doing pair trawling. One of the pair trawlers bears the name Ahuya I Ahuya II, with registration number AF 672.

Messrs Ato Sortor, Richster Nii Amarh Amarfio and Kobina Badu (Manoma) were speaking at the press conference organised by the Friends of the Nation (FoN), to express the concern of local fishermen to what they described as low harvest resulting from the activity of illegal pair trawlers.

According to Mr Sortor, in the first spy expedition they embarked upon on August 22, 2008, they saw eight pair trawlers, including Ahuya, at Axim.

He said the latest spy expedition at Cape Coast on Saturday, September 6, 2008, showed evidence of seven pair trawlers.

He said they captured the name of one of the pair trawlers which he gave as Benhill 7 & 8.

Mr Amarfio claimed that the pair trawlers fished around the clock but indicated that they normally fished in the night to avoid being seen.

He said the owners switched off the light and went trawling destroying the fish in the process.

Mr Badu claimed that the activities of the illegal fishing trawlers had destroyed the fish resources, thus making it difficult for the fisherman to make good catch.

As a result, he said, he had stopped going fishing with his two canoes, and indicated that all the 60 fishermen under his care had lost their jobs.

The local fishermen claimed that the pair trawling had destroyed the habitat of the fish, killed small fish and driven others away.

The local fishermen, therefore, appealed to the government to ban the activities of fishing trawlers to save the country’s fish resources from depletion and also protect their source of livelihood.

Earlier, the Programmes Co-ordinator of FoN, Mr Kyei Kwadwo Yamoah, called on the government to, “as a matter of urgency, ban the practice of pair trawling in Ghanaian waters, and this must be followed by an effective enforcement of the ban to ensure that no illegal pair trawling goes on”. .

He proposed the promulgation of a Legislative Instrument (LI) to back the fisheries law to provide the proper legal atmosphere for monitoring, control and surveillance activities.

Mr Yamoah asked the Ministry of Fisheries, the Fisheries Commission, the Ghana Navy and the coastal communities to be “adequately resourced to effectively carry out the monitoring, control and surveillance activities”.

He again proposed the re-establishment and institutionalisation of community-based fisheries management committee structures at the community, distict, regional and national levels to help police the country’s waters.

Source: Daily Graphic