An issue that is fast gaining media attention but lacking adequate publicity is the decision to place a ban on fishing in Ghana for some months. Recently, the Chief Fishermen along the coast of Ghana disclosed to their subjects (Fishermen) that the government of Ghana is considering a decision to place a ban on fishing for some months. From the information I gathered, the ban is intended to start from August 7, this year and it would last for 2 to 3 months. The news about the ban started gaining public attention along the coast in mid-July as many fishermen started revealing their displeasure on the said subject. This is to stress that the hearing of the fishing ban had brought mixed feelings among the entire fishermen and they are not happy to hear anything about the ban as rejections frown on the faces of many. They felt is impossible to place a ban on fishing without counting the various effects and implications on the majority of the people living at the coast.
Some group of fishermen in Cape Coast revealed that they considered the news about the ban to be not a serious one because they had no credible sources from anywhere that seems to justify the ban and the reasons behind it. But they were shocked to hear that this ban issue is becoming a reality. According to some groups at the shores of Moree (one of the towns considered the fishing hub of Ghana), some document have been presented to their Chief fishermen who happens to be their leaders representing them in matters of public interest and the one that is related to their fishing work. The details and the content of the document that were pushed to the chief fishermen is not known to them but they were told it is about the ban issue they have heard in few weeks ago and the order was for them to sign so that the fishing ban would be implemented.
According to another group of fishermen at Elmina, the office of the chief fishermen indicated that, the document were from the government requesting their signature for the ban to be implemented. The ban is intended to take place in the month of August and the specific date for the implementation is slated for August 7, this year. The reason for the ban is not known and as to when the ban will end remains a mystery. Some fishermen disclosed that, some of their leaders have signed the document sent to them on orders for their signature but others have not signed. The reason for others not signing was the fact that the months in which the ban captures is considered to be a fishing season for the fishermen in Ghana and implementing such ban in this season is a great threat to the local fishing. They also agree to the fact that such a matter should be well discussed with the entire fishermen and their views on the matter well solicited because they are the direct victims to this issue, not just their leaders and appropriate negotiations be done to compensate them to prevent any further implications. Some Chief fishermen who do not favor the ban however disclosed that signing the ban is equal to pronouncing death sentence on great mass of fishermen in Ghana.
The nature in which the document were pushed for signing means that the views of the entire fishermen would not be considered in such matter as far as the ban is concern. They should only accept that which is a great threat to their work and which can only be compared to death sentence. Other fishermen are not ready to welcome the ban and still believe it’s an illusion because it has never happened in the history of this country before. Moreover, the issue of the ban as many believe lack publicity and many fisher folks are not aware because they are not informed. In an interview with some group of fishermen in Ekon, the fisher folks disclosed that they are however not prepared to welcome the ban and for what reason the ban is to be implement until they are well informed about the ban. This is the same in other areas visited to solicit the views of the fishermen on the ban.
Others are taking it political and blaming the government for such decision but they still have their fingers crossed waiting to see if such fishing ban could be successful because they are not even prepared to listen to anything about the ban. Other fishermen have a positive stands on the ban but a doubtful one because they believe that the negative impact should the fishing ban is implemented will far outweigh the positives. This leaves the local fisher folks who depends solely on the sea for living, thinking and wondering how the sea could be ceased leaving many hungry at the coast.
The news about the fishing ban has brought mixed feelings among the local fishermen at the coastal cities and towns of Ghana including, Cape Coast, Anomabo, Birwa, Moree, Ekon, Elmina, Komenda, Sekondi, Axim, Tema, Accra, to name but few. Some fishermen have begun to recount the effect that this fishing ban would have on their standard of living in the period specified and beyond. While others believe it’s impossible and have never happen before, others are not ready to welcome it and would do everything to avoid it. They are calling on the government to consider the nature of their business and bring proper measures that would favor them other than this one. “To cease the Sea is deadly to us”-Fishermen at Moree.
This article captures the response of fishermen taking in a period of 10 days on the intended fishing ban coming up on 7thAugust, 2018. I will do everything possible to capture some of the responses of the fishermen in the upcoming post.
By: Peter Kofi Arthur
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