MP Fingers Minister Over Missing Fishermen

Hopes are fading for two people who are believed to have drowned in the Atlantic Ocean at Ningo-Prampram some weeks ago, after searches failed to find the pair, with fears that more people could be drowned.

The bodies of three other people who died in the sea have been found, while others also sustained various degrees of injury.

It is believed that the two missing persons were escaping from arrest by the ‘cruel’ taskforce commissioned by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs. Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, to fight light fishing on the sea.

The situation has sent fear and panic among the fisherfolks in the Ningo-Prampram coastal communities who are constantly being harassed by the taskforce.

According to  the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Hon. Sam Nartey George, hope of finding the  two drowned fishermen  has faded as the search is getting to a month without any sign of getting them alive or retrieving their bodies even if they are dead.

The two missing fishermen left behind wives and children, whose fate, the MP said, remained worrisome as the spouse and children depend largely on their husband and fathers for survival.

He told The Republic the disappearance of the two persons was discovered shortly after the alarm was raised, noting however that while the search has widened, there is no sign yet of them being found anywhere in the coastal areas of the country.

“We are still looking for the missing persons after the incident which occurred about three weeks now. The cause of the incident has not yet been established, but it is known that the two were escaping from the taskforce that the Minister of Fisheries has established to fight light-fishing on the sea,” Hon. Sam George said.

Members of the supposed taskforces, he stated, are known fishermen who are apparently foot soldiers of the Invisible and Delta forces deployed to intimidate and harass other fishermen in their area, as most of them run to their (MPs) house on daily basis to complain about their plight in the hands of the ‘devil’ forces on the sea.

“These taskforces are fishermen themselves, so instead of securing experts, like the Navy, to patrol the sea and fight light fishing and pair trawling, the minister in charge chose to select some fishermen who themselves are culprits in light fishing to fight their other colleagues,” the MP alleged.

He explained that, “What is causing all these are that, the so-called taskforces who are fishermen themselves use the opportunity to chase out their colleagues whom the presumed or perceived to be members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party. This is why we are saying that the minister is not doing things right.”

In his view, though the fight against light fishing is legitimate, the minister should have sought some specialized training for the taskforce before they are assigned to embark on the fight against light fishing on the sea.

The biggest threat to Ghana’s territorial fishing,  he said, is pair trawling by Chinese, yet the minister and his taskforces overlook such threats posed on the fishing population on Ghana waters and rather is chasing out harmless fishermen who have been fishing for years.

He expressed regret that  the minister has since not visited to console the affected families, whose beloved ones remained missing on the sea nor has she taken drastic measures to find the missing fishermen, either alive or dead.

“What is most worrying is that, after all these happenings, three persons died, two missing and several of the fishermen have their boat damaged, yet the minister finds it unnecessary to take action to retrieve the missing fishermen or to even visit the families and sympathize with them.”

Hon. Sam George said there is the need for the ministry and, for that matter, government to provide special training to the taskforces, as their activities remain inimical to the livelihood of fishermen in the Ningo-Prampram communities and that of others in the country.

He also called on the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, to whip his minister to act on her job, as several fisherfolks’ lives remain threatened by activities of the inexperienced taskforces on the sea.




Source: Engsalige Nyaaba


The Republic News Online

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