Despite the reopening of the sea for artisanal and inshore fleets, Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Mavis Hawa Koomson said fishermen in Elmina, Central Region, will continue to respect the closed season.
Madam Koomson stated to JoyNews following the reopening ceremony at Sekondi Fishing Habour on Saturday that the decision was made to punish the fishermen for their illicit fishing practices.
The Minister went on to say that when she came on Tuesday, June, the fishermen refused to support her campaign against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
“After my Tuesday presentation, they stated I suggested they should stop the Saiko and light fishing, which they didn’t like, and that I should recant that comment, which I didn’t. I wasn’t prepared, so they advised that if I wasn’t going to reverse, I should return the stuff I had brought for them, which I did.”
She stated that the government will deny the fishermen premix fuel and other logistics they require for their fishing excursion until they are willing to pay for it.
Joseph Hemans Asmah, the 2019 National Best Fisherman, who represented the fishing community in Elmina, urged the sector minister to balance justice with mercy.
“Now they’re pleading, they’ve come to apologize, I’m told they held a news conference, and one of the chief fisherman is here to apologize, but we still have to punish them for it, and I’m not going to hide it,” she continued.
He told JoyNews that the persons engaged aren’t fisherman, but what he called “guru boys.”
“The fisherman were patiently waiting for the minister to respond, but the guru guys got in the way, so I have to come here and apologize.
“Where will we get premix if the woman says she won’t give us premix?” Where will we acquire outboard motors to buy if the woman says she won’t give them to us at a reasonable price? Whenever we are in need and go to her and she closes her door on us, those who did it will not feel it,” he explained.