Ghana: Fisher folks to sue government over fishing ban

By Papisdaff Abdullah.

The Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Association has served notice it will go to court over government’s decision to close the sea for fishing for a month.

The directive from government which kicks in next month has been met with fierce resistance from fisher folks across the country. Currently the nation’s fish stock is critically low prompting the move by government.

The Executive Secretary of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Association Nii Abio Kyerekuanda IV described the directive as unnecessary and that they will strongly challenge it in court.

The directive, he said, if allowed to stand will “inflict unnecessary gratuitous hardship on the fishermen and this is what we are going to accept.”

Should the government refuse to reason with them, he warned “We will go to court for it to decide.”

The Deputy Fisheries Minister Ato Cudjoe in a quick riposte said the government will still go ahead with the exercise regardless.

According to him, it is within the right of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Association to go to court, but the government is not backing down on the directive because “we have gotten to a very critical point and we cannot allow the fisheries that feeds about 10 percent of the population to collapse on our watch and no leader will want to see that happen.”

Wading into the development, the Minority caucus in parliament is demanding  an immediate suspension of the exercise, criticizing the government for what they say is government’s failure to properly think through the directive.

“We believe this ban is not properly thought through and must be suspended immediately, especially, when neither the President nor the Minister is the person mandated by law to gazette and declare the closure,” said the Minority’s spokesperson on Agric and Ranking Member on the Agric Committee of Parliament Eric Opoku.

The Minority, he said are not “convinced” that adequate consultations have been conducted and that the fisher folks who were consulted have registered their displeasure on the closure.”

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