General News of Fri, 27 Feb 20040

Ministry to get tough with recalcitrant fishermen

Cape Coast, Feb 27, GNA-The Ministry of Food and Agriculture on Thursday said it has banned the use of 'light attraction' gadgets used by fishermen and has ordered those engaged in the practice to stop by the end of this month or face prosecution.

The Minister of State in charge of Fisheries, Mr Eddie Akita who announced the ban, said it has been established "beyond every reasonable doubt" that using "such unorthodox method of fishing, will only result in the depletion of fish stocks, especially sardines, in the country's territorial waters.

Mr Akita, who was inaugurating the Central Region branch of the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association of Ghana, at Cape Coast, stressed that his Ministry would ensure that the policy is fully implemented to encourage sound fishing practices.

He pointed out that if care was not taken, the fishing industry would collapse, adding "future generations will not forgive us for this action", and urged all fishermen to cooperate.

He was happy that the association was working hard to strengthen the capacity of its members to improve agricultural production to enable the nation achieve self-sufficiency in food production.

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The National Chairman of the association, Mr Philip Abayori said it was the association's objective to become a "formidable partner" in the development of the agriculture sector by 2010.

He was however, concerned about an FAO report in August last year, which stated that between 1985 and 2001, an estimated seven million farm workers from 27 African countries died of HIV/AIDS. Mr Abayori said the association, was therefore to liase with the Ghana AIDS Commission to put in place measures to minimise the effect of the disease in farming communities in the country.

He advised his colleagues to work hard to ensure that the association achieved its objectives and also assist more farmers in their areas to win awards in future.

A 15-member executive with Mr John Kwame Mensah, 1999 national best farmer from Edumfa in the Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese district was inducted into office.

Source: GNA

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