The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) on Tuesday said some industrial trawlers had been fishing within the Inshore Exclusive Zone (IEZ) in the past week off Winneba/Cape Coast resulting in destruction of fishing nets of canoe fishermen.
In a statement issued in Accra and signed by Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture, said "The Ministry condemns the activities of those unscrupulous fishing trawlers involved in such activities and take the opportunity to remind operators of fishing vessels that the Inshore Exclusive Zone is set aside for the exclusive use of the canoe fleet".
It reminded fishing vessel operators that trawling in the IEZ was contrary to the Fisheries Act and the penalty on summary for conviction for trawling in the IEZ included a fine of between 100,000 dollars to 500,000 dollars.
Others are full compensation for the destroyed gears of the canoe fishermen when these are damaged in the act and adequate compensation for loss of fishing time for the canoe fishermen whose net or canoe would be destroyed.
"MOFA therefore wishes to assure the canoe fishers and the public that any vessel that breaks the law will face the full rigors of the law, "it added.
On December 6, this year the Ministry was informed of a group of fishing vessels trawling in the IEZ of Cape Coast by some canoe fishers.
The Western Naval Command was immediately informed of the illegal activity of the fishing trawlers.
It said the Ministry again on December 9 informed the Western Naval Command of the re-appearance of fishing trawlers in the same area.
The Command is pursuing the offenders to face the full rigours of the law.
The statement said the Ministry was ready to suspend the fishing licences of the vessels involved in these activities as the law demanded and had ordered two patrol boats from the Far East to assist the Ghana Navy in their patrol activities.
The Ministry appealed to all fishermen to be on the look out for fishing vessels that are bent on breaking the fishing law and report such infractions to the Ministry or the Ghana Navy for appropriate action.
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