Government has officially announced the sale of Outboard Motors imported into the country by the Agricultural Development Bank. The new price for a 40 HP Outboard motor in 2012 is GH¢4,900.00 from GH¢7,500.00 and it would be sold to fishermen through the Landing Beach Committees on a cash and carry financial arrangement to ensure that genuine fishermen benefit.
This was announced by the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Hon. Kwesi Ahwoi, at a stake holders’ forum held at the Tema Canoe Beach on preparations made by government through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to usher in the 2012 fishing season.
He disclosed that, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in collaboration with the Agricultural Bank ADB and MASLOC have imported 2000 pieces of Outboard Motors to be sold to fishermen. He however warned beneficiary fishermen to desist from reselling their allocation for a profit as such act will lead to them being black-listed.
Also, the National Premix Committee Secretariat in collaboration with the Energy Commission and Tema Oil Refinery have made adequate preparation to increase the weekly supply of pre-mix fuel from 300,000 gallons to 450,000 gallons during the 2012 fishing season.
The Minister further added that, thirteen (13) fishing communities, comprising 2,000 artisanal fishermen have been provided with echo sounders, a fishing device that makes it easy to locate shoals of fish at sea. He indicated that, the project which is being piloted in 13 fishing communities at no cost to the fishermen jointly by the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC), the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and the Ghana Canoe Fishermen Council and it’s expected to eliminate waste in the fishing industry by harvesting only mature fish species.
Each selected community was provided with 10 pieces.
Hon. Ahwoi again indicated that, MOFA in collaboration with MASLOC started a project last year to replace illegal nets with the authorized ones. As part the replacement program, MASLOC has ordered 100,778 mt of various mesh sizes of the legal netting materials for sale to fishermen.
He however warned that, anyone found to be selling the nets above the quoted price would be dealt with according to the law.
Hon. Ahwoi, stressed that, the government was well aware of the contribution of the fisheries sector to the socio-economic development of the country and that it could not afford to jeopardize the health of people, render about 2.4 million people unemployed and lose the accruable foreign exchange due to the lack of enforcement of the Fisheries Laws and Regulations.
He further indicated that, it was in this context that the NDC government made a pledge to the hardworking and law abiding fishermen, fish mongers and the good people of our country that , they would ensure that rule of law prevails in the fishing industry by the introduction and implementation of prudent policies such as the inauguration of the reconstituted Fisheries Commission in September, 2009 and the subsequent passage of the Fisheries Regulations 2010 by Parliament on August3, 2010, the setting up of the Fisheries Enforcement Unit in May 2011 and the commissioning of 4 new patrol boats for the Ghana Navy for fisheries surveillance by H.E Prof. Atta Mills, President of the Republic of Ghana in February 2012.
The Minister enumerated the success chalked as a result of these measures to include:
- Increase in Marine Fish Production from 319,331 tons in 2010 to 326,545 tons in 2011 – about 2.2% increase.
- Increase in Inland Fish Production from 83,126.6 tons in 2010 to 95,353.3 tons in 2011 – about 14.7% increase.
- Production increase of Aquaculture from 10,200 tons in 2010 to 19,092 tons in 2011 – about 87.7% increase.
- Foreign Exchange earnings from export of fish and fishery products increased from US$165,709,645 in 2010 to US$254,429,334 in 2011 – about 53.5% increase.
Hon. Ahwoi, assured the country of government’s commitment to attracting investment to boost the fisheries sector while streamlining the fishing industry.
At the end of the forum, the Hon. Minister was taken round by the Chief Executive of Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) to inspect some Government funded fisheries related projects in Tema. These included the construction of the net mending facility at the Tema Canoe Beach and the dredging of the Tema Canoe Basin. He also inspected the construction of Chorkor Smokers with financial assistance of the TMA and Fisheries Commission for Fishmongers in Tema New-Town.