The Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mr Francis Ato Cudjoe, says Government will not ban ‘Saiko’, an Illegal Fishing activity, on its waters, any time soon. This is because doing so will pose economic and social problems for the country.
He explains the Saiko trade benefit the Fisher folks in the various fishing communities across the country’s coastal lines and for that matter banning it will affect the livelihoods of many households.
Implications on the people
“This business has emerged and our people are benefiting from it. Now whenever you’re coming out with a policy or a measure, you have to look at the total implication of this policy. That is the economic and social implications for the people”, he said.
He adds that the trade had become so popular among the fishermen and women in the country to the extent that banning it outrightly will course a lot of problems for the Government.
In recognition of this fact, what Government intends doing, he said, is to stop the illegal aspect of the trade. Which is the transshipment, that is the large scale Saiko trade.
“So for us as Government, we are saying that we are not abolishing Saiko any time soon….what we are saying is that we are going to regulate it”, he explained.
Mr Cudjoe was speaking on the ‘Upfront’ show on the Joy News Channel on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.
The substantive Minister, Mrs Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, is reported earlier to have promised some fisher folks in Elmina that the New Patriotic Party will never abolish the Saiko trade.
So, the Deputy Minister’s comments on the matter is to just to reiterate his boss’ statement.
Ghana losing US$50 annually
Last week, Mr Kofi Agbogah, a member of the Technical Committee of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, on the same show, disclosed that Ghana was losing some US$50 million annually due to the activities of illegal fishing.
He, consequently, called for an immediate end to the trade, adding that the country will be hit with a serious shortage of fish which will take about 40 years to resolve, should the menace continue.
Saiko, a Transshipment, is an illegal mode of fishing where trawlers stay put on the sea, catch fish meant for small-scale fishermen and sell them to cannon fishermen out at sea.
This practice, is very pervasive on the Elmina fishing harbour, in the central Region of Ghana.
However, the laws of Ghana abhor such mode of fishing on its waters.
What the law says
For instance, section 132 of the Act 625 (Act 2000) clearly states how fishing vessels should operate on the country’s fishing waters.
“Unless authorised in writing by the commission [fisheries commission], no fishing vessel shall be used for transshipment of fish in the fishery waters without the supervision of an authorised officer or under such arrangement or condition as may be approved in advance by the commission”.
What this means is that one needs prior authorisation before moving fish from one vessel to the other.
In addition to this, section 52, 53 and 55 of the same Act says that nobody can go on the waters to fish without license.