…as two die during ‘traditional’ fishing expedition
Fishermen at the Tema Canoe Landing Beach Basin in Accra have called on government to reconsider the period earmarked for the closed season – the period of no fishing.
Ismael Ashitey, a fisherman, said the group is not against the closed season, but added that the period given them by government to observe the season is not the best – especially as it coincides with their traditional festive period.
He made the call in an interview with the B&FT following the death of two fishermen. The two allegedly drowned while returning from their expedition after an encounter with the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) Marine Taskforce – with their bodies washing ashore Thursday dawn.
Narrating the incident to B&FT, Tema Awudum Chief Fisherman, Nii Odametey, disclosed that even though the artisanal fishermen are currently observing a closed season, which will end July 31, 2023, the Tema Traditional Council had some agreement with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) to allow selected fishermen to fish for traditional customs toward the celebration of this year’s Homowo Festival – which is the main festival of the Ga people of Greater Accra Region.
The practice, which he described as normal, commenced four years ago after introduction of the closed season; and that all the security agencies are very much aware of, as they are in their festive period.
Nii Odametey explained that twelve (12) of their men went fishing at about 00:00 hours on Thursday. However, he received a report at about 3:30am to 4:00 am that GPHA security allegedly hit their canoe with their metal vessel while on duty, which led the fishermen’s canoe to capsize and result in the death of the two.
They are calling for immediate investigations into the death of two out of twelve fishermen who reportedly embarked on customary rites fishing to precede the annual Homowo celebration in Tema.
The Ashaiman Woleitse, Nii Adjeirteh Mator, also explained that the men were allowed to go on the fishing expedition as custom demands, since their the catch would be used to perform not only initial rites toward celebrating the Homowo Festival but is also pivotal in preparation of the traditional festive food, kpokpoi.
He therefore called for thorough investigations into the cause of the two fishermen’s death, especially since the traditional council had notified the GPHA.
Meanwhile, Isaac Tawiah – Marketing and Public Relations Manager at the Fishing Harbour, disclosed that the GPHA is investigating the incident.