John Mahama

Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahama, has promised to restore the glorious days of the fishing industry for fishers in the coastal areas when voted for in the upcoming general elections.

Mr Mahama said this during an interaction with artisanal fishermen, fishmongers, fish smokers, and stakeholders within the fishing communities in the country at Tema Landing Beach.

He noted that the NDC had visited all the landing beaches from Afloa to Half-Assin, and the complaints received from the fishermen were mostly about their inability to acquire and purchase the fishing inputs and resources needed for their jobs.

He added that party politics had been introduced to the fishing industry, which was affecting the distribution of inputs such as premix fuel used in fishing, as party chairmen had been handed its distribution.

He said under his leadership, “all the fishing inputs, which are the subsidised premix, subsidised outboard motors, pans for the fish smokers, and other resources, would be given to the various organisations to share with their members.”

The NDC flag-bearer again emphasised that politics must be eschewed from the fishing industry and assured the fishing community that, if the NDC was elected, their needs would be met to ensure that the various stakeholders on the fish value chain would have an income to care for their families.

He gave the assurance that vessels would also be provided for the Ghana Navy to patrol the sea, make sure the fishing trawlers did not come within the exclusive zone, and reserve the zone for the artisanal fishermen.

Mr Mahama further promised to create jobs for the unemployed youth residing along the coastal areas; this, he said, would include cleaning works at the beach to clear the area of plastic waste that harms marine life.

He said, “we would reintroduce the youth who used to clean the beaches and pay them to reduce the rate of unemployment and also keep our beaches clean.”

He added that they would also help fishermen acquire fish finders to help them locate the exact location of the fish to catch to reduce hours at sea and its resultant cost.

He indicated that artisanal fishermen would be exempted from the close season while promising to reopen the National Women’s Bank, which would give out loans at a reduced interest rate to the women in the fishing industry to work with.

The NDC presidential aspirant indicated that the National Fisheries College at Anomabo, which had been left uncompleted for years, would be completed to serve as a learning centre for all fishermen, fish smokers, and stakeholders in the fishing industry.

“They would be taught how to improve and manage their work without causing any harm to the sea and the fish in them and restore the glory days of blessings in the fishing industries so that they would be provided with decent pay to take care of their families, communities, and the county at large.”

He assured them that if the NDC was voted into power, they would reorganise all the Landing Beach Communities and allow the fishermen to hold elections to choose their leaders without any political involvement.