13 Vessels Arrested By FEU, Fined GH¢0.29m

Thirteen vessels and canoes arrested by the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) of the Fisheries Commission last year for various offences have been fined a total of GH¢295,839.

Trans shipment arrests alone accounted for GH¢135,460.

Trans shipment  is the transfer  of fish or any other  item  or  human   cargo, from one vessel to the  other,  in  accordance with the laws of  Ghana, as sanctioned  by  the Fisheries Act, Act 625, 2002.

The National Co-ordinator of FEU, Naval Captain Emmanuel Kwafo, disclosed this to The Ghanaian Times yesterday in Takoradi.

He said the Unit is determined to   arrest vessels and  canoes engaged    in trans-shipment  of   fish   along   Ghana’ s  maritime domain,  in  order to  protect  the fish  stock  of  the country.

Trans-shipment, in all forms, he said, was illegal, unless  sanctioned  by the Fisheries Act  or any other regulations  in  the maritime  environment.

The offenders  were   Aka Ewie  Canoe  (AF 670), which  was  fined GH¢17,200,Ketewa Bia Nsua Canoe, Ewieyie-NeAsem canoe and Miracle Malor,  fined GH¢35,000 each  and   Nyame Ye Kese fined, GH¢12,360.

He said the Fisheries Act, Section  132 (1) states, Unless authorised in writing  by the Commission, no fishing vessel shall be used for  trans-shipment  of  fish in the fishery waters,  without the supervision of an authorised  officer,  or  under such  arrangement and conditions as may be approved  in advance, by the Commission.

“The master, owner or charter  of a vessel  used  in contravention of subsection (1) commits an  offence and is liable for summary conviction of a fine not less  than   $100,000 and not more than  $2 million, in  respect  of a foreign vessel, or a local industrial or semi  industrial vessel, or 260 penalty  units and not more  than  1,000 penalty  units  in case  of a canoe.”

Meanwhile, two trawlers,  Genesis 3 AF 688 and Awo Yaa 8,  have been arrested and fined a total of GH¢129,485,  for fishing  below the 30-metre depth  between January  and February, this  year, while Lian Run 14,Fidelis 102, Lu Rong Yuan Yu 910, all  trawlers,   were  arrested between January and April, for fishing with  under-sized mesh nets.

The cases on under-sized nets are pending before the Circuit Courts in Takoradi.

Naval Capt. Kwafo said  the trans-shipment  of  fish, for example,  must  be done at the   various     fishing harbours, for  the  Fisheries  Commission  and the Customs Division to assess the fish and exact the appropriate   taxes  to be paid  to the state.

The Fisheries Law, he  said, required that such   trans-shipment was supervised  by maritime  stakeholders   including   the Ghana  Navy, the Fisheries  Commission and the Ghana Maritime Authority(GMA), stressing  that  any  such  activity  without  supervision,   was  contrary  to  the law  and  an  offence.

“The vessels need to do the transshipment in  accordance with the law and pay the  legitimate taxes;  but  some  do  not want to  obey  and want to dodge  the  processes  at sea,” he complained.

From Clement Adzei Boye,Takoradi

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