The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Hawa Koomson, has hinted that fishermen who persistently violate the fisheries law after the closed season will face stiffer punishment.
According to her, the ministry is in talks with the law courts to propose more stringent punitive measures for those caught breaching the laws.
She noted that the move is aimed at deterring fishermen from emulating the bad example of their colleagues.
Offenders should expect harsh prison sentencing with a maximum of six months henceforth since the fines are not punitive enough.
Hawa Koomson made this statement when she presented fishing items such as gear nets, basins and fridges to the National Fish Processors And Traders Association in the Western Region to support them after the one-month closed season.
She lamented that the close season is a way of helping the fishes in the sea to reproduce, but is very surprised that some fishermen in the country still engage in the use of illegal methods such as light fishing, the use of dynamite and other unapproved gears in fishing.
“The fishermen are still doing the wrong things at sea and I have cautioned them that if they keep at it, we shall implement more deterrent measures such as a prison sentence of between three to six months”, she warned.
She mentioned that over 20,000 bags of rice and cooking oils were distributed this year to all four coastal regions to cushion fishermen and persons in the industry during the closed season.
She stressed that the continuous use of DDT and dynamite among other unacceptable methods for fishing waters down the government’s efforts to boost the industry.
She, therefore, tasked the Fisheries Enforcement Unit to do their work effectively by arresting any fisherman engaging in illegal fishing.
Acting President for the National Canoe Fishermen Council, Jojo Duncan, also addressed the gathering and asked the fishermen to be obedient to the laws.
Mr. Duncan said that the whole community must be each other’s keepers and report offenders or risk losing benefits that may accrue to all.