The Capital Herring Group of the Artisanal Fishermen Association have voiced out their frustration over the behaviour of the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Haja Afsatu Kabba, for not addressing their problem.
Speaking to Awoko the Organizing Secretary of the Group, Sheku Fornah said officials from the Minister had visited them at Goderich and convinced them to abandon the usual 41 centimeter fishing net in favour of a new type that they would recommend to them.
He said they agreed and promised to meet with them so that an agreement could be reached, but the officials were impatient and left before time. Sheku Fornah alleged that two days later, a group of Police Officers arrived at the village seized their fishing nets and destroyed a good number belonging to other fishermen. Mr. Fornah explained that the officers strictly admonished them never to use the 41 centimeter nets for fishing and further said that even the net that the officials promised to recommend, up to this day they have never gone back to talk about it. To make matters worst the government has deployed Naval Officers to monitor and ensure that they do not use the forbidden nets, and noted that “since we cannot use the net we are used to, then there is suffering for us ‘’ he said.
“This situation has left me and my family and other fishermen suffering” he added, stressing that some fishermen have left looking for possible areas for better fishing, since they cannot cope with the new policy. Sama Keno, a fishmonger said she cannot buy the usual quantity of fish due to the low catch experienced by the fishermen and further stated that she felt it so much when they can no longer catch ‘Mina’ which is her choice and highly appreciated by her customers. Responding on behalf of the Minister, an official in the Ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity said all the explanations given by the gentleman were false stressing that the ministry stopped them not to use the monofilament type of net as it would destroy the remaining species for the next generation.
The official added that the government had a good intention for them but only that they have failed to understand the position. By John-Bu