The Tema Traditional Council has endorsed government’s decision to put a temporary ban on fishing activities in May, this year, to augment the fish stock.
Nii Adjei Kraku II, the Paramount Chief of the Traditional Council, who led a delegation from the area to the Jubilee House on Tuesday, told President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo that he and his subjects supported the move.
The Chief said even though the ban would affect the fishing communities in Tema, the Council was of the opinion that the embargo would be to the greater good of the entire fishing industry in Ghana.
The decision, according to Nii Kraku II, would allow for the regeneration of the dwindling fish stock in the country’s seas.
Government, last year, announced August 7 as the start of a one month ban on all fishing activities in the country, siting massive decline in the fish stock in the country's waters over the past two decades.
However, the Government had to postpone it to this year, 2019, as some fisher folks expressed misgivings about the closed season and disagreed with the timing, lamenting over the need to secure some types of fishes for their festive occasions. The directive is to principally save some species of fish such as mackerel and anchovies, which are getting extinct due to poor fishing practices. The Chief and his delegation, who were there to present their challenges to the President, were accompanied by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tema East, Nii Kwartei Titus Glover, who doubles as the Deputy Minister of Transport, and Mr Felix Nii Annan-La, the Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE).
Among the issues the Tema Mantse tabled for consideration, through his spokesman, E.O Adjetey, was the need for the construction of a hospital for the 96,000 people of Manhean in Tema, which was serviced by a small clinic. They also tabled issues relating to the acquisition of lands in the Metropolis, the Council’s representation on state organisations, particularly those established in Tema, and dredging of the Sakumo and Kyemu lagoons.
President Akufo-Addo, expressed gratitude to the Council for supporting the ban on fishing and fishing activities, a measure his Administration was taking to save the fishing industry, despite the opposition the directive had received from both fisher folks and opposition politicians. “I think that it makes for good understanding what we are trying to do…to preserve the marine life of our country like the struggle we are having with the galamsey issue…if we continue that path, one day we will wake and find out we have no country; our lands would have been devastated, our water bodies would be ruined and our fishing stock too will be non-existent.” On the Council’s request for a new hospital, the President disclosed that plans were afoot for the construction a new health facility in the Manhean Area. He also obliged to the request by the chiefs for government to dredge the Chemu and Sakumo lagoons.
On the appointment of people from Tema into state organisations, President Akufo-Addo said there were indigenes from Tema serving in his administration and expressed his readiness to appoint more capable people from the area.
“The VALCO Board is being reconstituted. That, for instance, provides us with an opportunity to appoint people from the Tema Traditional Council to the Board,” he said.
The President touched on the acquisition of lands in Tema and indicated that the Traditional Council had made lots of sacrifices by giving out lands for the construction of the fishing harbour, the township, and industries. He gave the assurance of government’s readiness to facilitate dialogue on how the Traditional authorities could be supported.