Eighteen fishermen including a 14-year-old boy who were arrested at Prampram for allegedly engaging in illegal fishing, yesterday appeared before a Circuit Court here in Tema.
The fishermen are David Kwameh, Ayem Acquah, Joshua Annor, Ishmael Ayyitey, Mustapha Lamptey, Joseph Ashieley and Jonathan Commodore.
Others are, Paul Kakra, Joseph Quaye, Isaac Commodore, Adjei Ashieley, Kofi Krah and Nuertey Aduma.
The rest include, Lartey Ashieley, Armah Tetteh, Francis Lamptey , Ashieley Armah and the 14-year-old (name withheld).
They pleaded not guilty to all the seven counts of engaging in prohibited fishing methods and conspiring to engage in prohibited fishing methods.
The court presided over by Ms Cynthia Owiredu, admitted them to a GH¢ 50,000 bail each with two sureties while the teenager was granted a GH¢ 30,000 bail with his mother standing surety.
They would make their second appearance on November 25.
The judge ordered Elizabeth Mensah, mother of the teenager to make his son available at the next adjourned date.
The judge said:”because he allegedly committed the offence with these adults we will try the case here but when we are done, we will send him to the Juvenile Court for sentencing.”
In addition, the court ordered them to report fortnightly to the Tema Marine Police Station.
Counsel for the accused, Mr Adomako Acheampong, pleaded with the court to admit very lenient terms of bail to his clients as most of them with little or no education had gone to sea to get their daily bread and could not really appreciate the effects of what they engage in.
Prosecuting, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Jacob Asomani, told the court that the complainant in the case, Mr Emmanuel Amevor, is an official of the Fisheries Commission in Tema.
He said the accused were arrested on the sea at Prampram on November 9, 2019, for allegedly engaging in prohibited methods of fishing during an exercise by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Fisheries Enforcement Unit.
The prosecution said the accused were allegedly using high intensity bulbs to fish in their canoes. The law enforcement agency therefore seized the four canoes, nine generator sets and eight high intensity bulbs they were using to fish.
FROM GODFRED BLAY GIBBAH, TEMA