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I am determined to fight illegal fishing practices – Hawa Koomson

The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mavis Hawa Koomson has reaffirmed her commitment in stomping out the activities of illegal fishing practices in the Ghanaian fishing industry.

In an interview with GhanaWeb on Thursday, May 27, 2021, Madam Hawa Koomson revealed that the European Union has threatened to issue Ghana a ‘yellow card’ if the nation fails to tackle the menace of illegal fishing.

According to the Minister, the warning by the European Union will serve as another motivation to tackle illegal fishing which she had personally committed to dealing with even before assuming office.

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In the Minister’s view, practices including light fishing and the use of chemicals are not just illegal but harmful.

She revealed that her Ministry will ensure that persons found culpable of engaging in such practices face prosecution in order to sanitize the industry and serve as a deterrent to others.

“If you listened to me during my vetting, I said clearly that I was going to enforce the laws. We have laws guiding the fishing sector and so if you do something that is not legal, definitely you have to be prosecuted and that will deter others. So I am bent on doing that,” she said.

She emphasized that her pursuit for sanity in the fishing industry will be without fear or favour and thus cited an ongoing case where a fisherman is facing prosecution for engaging in illegal fishing.

According to the Minister, the said fisherman operating in the Sekondi area was using a machine at sea to attract fish contrary to provisions. she stated that she ordered for the removal of the machine in the sea and called for the prosecution of the suspect.

“I am very serious about this. As we speak the case is with the police, the docket will be brought to the Attorney General and from there we will take it up. The Attorney General will advice. But we are not going to let the person go scot-free, we will start the prosecution. I have told them (the fishermen) that we want sanity in the sector and they are the people who are going to help us. But if they try to be difficult, the only thing is for me to enforce the law,” she stated.

What is the ‘EU Yellow Card’

The “yellow card” is an official warning issued by the European Union to trading partners falling short of tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

A yellow card which is a formal warning by the EU is a percussor to the issuance of Red Card which is a total ban on seafood exports from a country to the E.U.

Source: ghanaweb.com

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