As the one month ban on fishing by inshore fishermen and artisanal fleets starts today, some fishermen who are not against the ban have taken a swipe at the Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Minister, describing her as very disrespectful.
According to the fishermen, Mrs. Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye does not respect the very people she is supposed to serve their interest.
The visibly angry fishermen in an interview with The Inquisitor said that the minister was behaving like a tyrant who does not listen to anybody.
Speaking on behalf of the fishermen, Nii Otu Tetteh said that they were not against the ban on fishing but were against the boisterous attitude of the minister.
“Some of us wanted to meet the minister and fashion out how best we can make sure the ban works but she refused to grant us audience,” he said.
Nii Tetteh said: “We are in Ghana and we know how people will like to take advantage of those who will flout the ban so we wanted to meet the minister but she will not meet us.”
The ban on fishing will take place from today to June 15, 2019 to replenish the dwindling stock of fishes in the nation’s marine waters.
The Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Francis Ato Cudjoe, in announcing the ban in Parliament, on behalf of the minister, said following the postponement of the 2018 closed season, the ministry, together with the Fisheries Commission, intensified its engagement with stakeholders on the need for the observation of the closed season this year for the benefits of all parties.
“As Parliament may recall, this ministry, together with the Fisheries Commission, in accordance with sections 76 (3) and 84 of the Fisheries Act, 2002 (Act 625), has decided to use the closed season to address the dwindling stock of fishes in our marine waters,” he stated.
According to the deputy minister, wider and extensive consultations and engagements with all stakeholders, including National Fishers Association of Ghana (NAFAG), the National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC), Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association and many others, had taken place and that all stakeholders had agreed on the proposed closed season for this year.
Nii Tetteh was emphatic that the arrogance and disrespect of the minister was having far-reaching ramifications on the fisheries sector.
“There are lots of issues bothering the industry that must be discussed well, but our minister is not ready for some us so we are just watching her,” he said.
He said: “The initial resistance put up by the fishermen when the ban was announced alone should tell somebody that something was not right because if the minister had engaged us, there would be such resistance.”
“We have worked with lots of ministers but there is something odd about the current minister which is her level of respect for fishermen,” he said.
Nii Tetteh said that if the minister continues with her recent posture the fisheries sector would be in crisis soon.
“We are pleading with the minister to at least listen to us because of the development of the fisheries sector. We want the sector to grow and not that there is anything personal against her,” he said.
Attempts to speak with the minister did not yield any positive results as she would not answer her calls and text message from The Inquisitor.