By Nana Oye Gyimah / Victoria Agyemang GNA
Elmina (C/R), July 24, GNA- Mrs. Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has distributed 300 outboard Motors to Fishermen within the Central region at Elmina in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) Municipality.
At a brief ceremony to distribute the motors, the Minister said the 300 were the first batch of 1,300 outboard motors set to be distributed to Fishermen at subsidized prices this year.
She indicated that the distribution was part of the Government’s fishing support scheme for fishers intended to boost the livelihoods of fishers and their communities.
“Artisanal fishing communities are generally characterised by low incomes and poor living conditions with an estimated poverty incidence of 30 percent, which happens to be the highest in the country”
Speaking on the criteria for selection, the Minister said there was a committee, which ensured that beneficiaries were fishermen and were identified by their biometric cards and canoe numbers.
She explained that consideration was not based on political affiliations and so none was taken out of the process.
Mrs. Quaye who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Krowor Constituency in the Greater Accra Region re-announced that the close season for the year 2020 had been put on hold.
Giving reasons for the non-closure, she said “ we started the engagement again but unfortunately the pandemic didn’t allow us to get through and that explains why we could not enforce its operation”.
The Minister also indicated that her outfit had done a lot to combat illegal fishing and what would be unique this year would be the passing of the Collaborative Management Policy to engage with paramount chiefs, chief fishermen, sub chiefs, and all opinion leaders within the fishing sector to add ideas together in curtailing illegal fishing practices.
Last year, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development closed the fishing season for inshore and artisanal fishers, from May 15 to June 15 and industrial trawlers from August 1 to September 30.
This was done after extensive consultations between the Ministry, fishermen associations, and other key stakeholders inconsistent with the Fisheries Regulations and Marine Management Plan.
The closed fishing season is a period fisherman are prohibited from fishing in the ocean to enable the fingerling to grow and ensure heavy catch upon resumption of fishing activities.
Nana Obrenu Daabum III, The President of the Central Region Canoe Fishermen Council, expressed gratitude to the Minister and urged fishermen to efficiently put their outboard motors to use.
Nana Kojo Kondua VI, Paramount Chief of Elmina Traditional Area appealed to the Ministry to as a matter of urgency distribute the additional 1,000 outboard motors at the earliest time to effectively aid the work of fishermen in the country.
He appealed to those who were yet to benefit, to patiently wait for their turn.
A beneficiary, Mr Isaac Sam Aggrey also thanked the Ministry and the Government for duly fulfilling its promise, saying, it will boost the fishing industry and help improve their income and livelihoods.