Four local industrial trawlers have been impounded by the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU), for flouting the Fisheries Act on the harvesting of fingerlings in Ghana’s territorial waters.
The vessels, which were impounded in conjunction with the Ghana Navy during an operation in Ghana’s waters between April 11 and 13, have been sent to the Sekondi Naval Base.
The Western Regional Director of the Fisheries Commission, Mr. Alex Sarbah, told The Ghanaian Times that during the operations, the FEU-Navy team uncovered infractions, including fingerlings on board the vessels and small-sized fishing nets.
The vessels, JIN HAI- 608 caught fingerlings weighing 3.36 metric tonnes, JIN HAI- 605,5.16 metric tonnes; LU RONG YUAN-YU- 959,10.5metric tones and MENG X1N 16, 20 metric tonnes.
The Ghanaian Times gathered yesterday that three of the vessels, JIN HAI -608,JIN HAI- 605 and LU RONG YUAN-YU-959, had been fined a total of 750,000 dollars, with each paying 250,000 dollars while the fish catch had been valued at GH¢99,828, at the prevailing market price.
However, investigations on the fourth vessel, MENG XIN 16, were on-going, and the docket would be ready soon.
Both JIN HAI 608 and JIN HAI-605, were arrested off the coast of Cape Coast, LU RONG YUAN-IYU -959 off the Takoradi coast, while MENG XIN 16,was arrested in the Half Assini area.
Already, the Regional Settlement Committee, comprising officials from the Fisheries Commission,the Navy, Marine Police and the Attorney General’s office (AG), have prepared the docket and forwarded it to the AG’s office, for advice.
The offenders have one month to pay the fine.
Mr. Sarbah noted that, the catching of fingerlings was becoming rampant, depleting the fish stock in the waters.
He told The Ghanaian Times that, the Commission, through the FEU and the Navy and the marine police would step up its monitoring activities to minimise trans-shipment and reduce the haulage of fingerlings.
He said the catching of fingerlings was bounded by the law which stipulated that, vessels should not fish in the Inshore Exclusive Zone (IEZ) reserved for artisanal canoes, with an area of depth of 30 metres or six nauticalmiles”.
From Clement Adzei Boye,Sekondi