Coalition of NGOs and GNCFC urge President Akufo-Addo to abolish 'Saiko'

Thu, 11 Jun 2020 Source: GNA

A coalition of NGOs and the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council ( GNCFC), have urged President Nana Akufo-Addo to help find a lasting solution to the disparaging illegal fishing activity otherwise known as Saiko.

The canker, which confronts fishing expeditions was fast driving potential fish stocks in Ghana's waters, putting it on the brink of collapse, thereby hampering Ghanaian livelihoods, nutrition and national security.

This was contained in a statement issued and signed by the group as part of activities marking World Environment Day in Takoradi.

The NGOs are Environmental Justice Foundation (EFF), Hen Mpoano, Friends of the Nation (FoN), Oxfam Ghana, Care International Ghana, CEMLAWS Africa, CERATH and Livestock and Fisheries Chamber.

The statement said Saiko was a severely destructive form of illegal fishing, where industrial trawlers targeted the staple catch of canoe fishers and sell this fish back to local communities making huge turnover.

"It takes jobs, threatens food security and endangers Ghana's economy," the release stated.

It said trawlers were able to hover vast quantities of small pelagic fish such as sardinella-the main catch of local canoe fishers and crucial part of the nation's diet.

The statement said researchers have predicted total loss of such species within five years, unless urgent measures were taken, adding that, "if this menace is not urgently addressed and measures instituted to permanently eradicate it, the source of income for over 2.

7 million Ghanaians will be lost.

According to the statement, Saiko provides jobs for not more than 1,500 individuals, whereas canoe Fisheries provide 140,000 jobs to fishers alone and as many as 1000 fishmongers, majority of whom were women traders, input supplies and fish carriers.

In 2017 alone, Saiko trade took around 100,000 tonnes of fish worth over US$50million when sold at the landing site.

The statement added that Saiko was costing Ghana trillions of dollars annually thereby threatening coastal livelihoods.

The Director for Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Mr Steve Trent, urged President Akufo-Addo to abolish Saiko as it led to loss of jobs, social vices and crimes in the fishing communities and the wider society.

He said "the collapse of the people's fish will further undermine your government's vitally important planting for food and jobs agenda.

"We note with urgency that any hope of saving Ghana's Fisheries from collapse is contingent on ending the Saiko menace without delay," the Director stated.

He said within the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic, safeguarding livelihoods and food security had acquired an even more pressing urgency.

Mr. Trent said ending Saiko would be a marker of President Akufo- Addo's leadership, "It will be of great importance to the people and Ghanaian nation, delivering an overwhelmingly positive legacy for the President".

Source: GNA

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