On Friday, 31st August 2018, some group of fishermen attacked Marine Police Personnel with Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) at Axim in the Western Region of Ghana.
The Fishermen had engaged in illegal fishing with light aggregation method and when they were approached by the Marine Police personnel, the fishermen assaulted the Police and attempted to drown one of the Policemen.
Narrating the incident, Detective Sergeant Wonder Kpedator, a Marine Police Personnel with the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) said that on Thursday 30th August 2018 at about 4:00pm the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) received information from one of the chief fishermen at Axim that some canoes at Axim, Anto-Apewosika were engaging in illegal fishing including light fishing.
D/Sgt. Wonder said the FEU team decided to follow up early morning on Friday 31st August to Axim to check. He explained that when the FEU team arrived at Axim they found some canoes discharging fish, so the FEU went round to inspect the canoes. During the inspection, one of the canoes with the inscription Chelsea and Sampson was spotted with Light aggregation devices (including long cable, metal tripod and high intensity light).
D/Sgt. Wonder explained that he and another policeman CPL. Adabogo with the FEU team boarded the said canoe for further inspection. This canoe was anchored near the shore with the anchor rope and another rope tied to lines of canoes to keep the canoe stable.
D/Sgt. Wonder explained that when they went onboard the canoe the fishermen numbering about 25 untied one of the ropes that held the canoe and pulled the anchor rope so the canoe pushed toward the sea far away from the shoreline and the other FEU team. At this point the fishermen assaulted the two Police officers on board. D/Sgt. Wonder said one of the fishermen pushed him into the sea and attempted to drown him and when he was in the water the fisherman instructed the other fishermen not to rescue him. D/Sgt. Wonder said the fisherman specifically, shouted “No one should save him, let’s leave him to die in the water, today will be your last day on earth”. D/Sgt. Wonder said they refused to rescue him but because he knew how to swim he was able to swim back to the canoe. He stressed that he would have died if he was not a good swimmer.
The owner of the said canoe, one Joseph Sumuna, who had come to the beach ordered the fishermen to release the policemen and sent a canoe to bring them back to shore.
Reacting to the incident, Mr. Kyei Kwadwo Yamoah, Programmes Manager of Friends of the Nation, said this was a calculated attempt by those fishermen to kill the Marine Police personnel. Mr. Yamoah indicated that Sergeant Wonder would have drowned if he did not know how to swim. He said, such criminal and uncivilized actions of some fisher folks defeats the collective attempts to combat Illegal fishing and should be totally condemned and dealt with to deter other fishers.
Speaking Spicefmonline Mr. Kwame Mensah, Programmes Coordinator of the Far Ban Bo project mentioned that there have been too many unwarranted attacks on FEU personnel by Fisher folks, He urged the Police to fully investigate the matter as a matter of urgency and bring the perpetuators to book.
The Far Ban Bo Project has therefore in a statement condemned the attack and urged the Police to Prosecute the Perpetuators of this Criminal act.
Fishing by Light Aggregation, is one of the illegal fishing practices that has and continue to lead to the decline of Ghana’s Marine Fish stock. The Fisheries Laws of Ghana especially, the Fisheries Regulation passed in the year 2010, LI 1968 bans Light fishing.
The Far ban Bo Project also urges the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to make an announcement condemning this attack and also give Public declaration to caution fishermen against attacks on FEU Personnel.
The FAR BAN BO (meaning ‘protecting the fishing livelihoods’ in fante) Project is being implemented in Ghana by a consortium consisting of CARE, Friends of the Nation (FoN) and Oxfam, for the period January 2017 to December 2020. The Far Ban Bo Project is funded by the European Union.
Kojo Ennimil Arthur| Spicefmonline.com| Ghana