The Ghana Tuna Association has called on the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the government of Ghana to take steps to rescue the sector from collapse as they are on the verge of losing their major partners in the business.
The local tuna industry is patronized mainly by Koreans who provide the fishing vessels and the required resources in partnership with the Ghanaians.
The Association says it has experienced five attacks on their fishing vessels at sea this year alone.
“On the 24th of June 2020, pirates attacked a Ghanaian registered fishing vessel, FV PANOFI FRONTIER belonging to PANOFI FISHERIES, and took away five Koreans and one Ghanaian cook. The vessel was raided 80 nautical miles south of Lagos. It took diplomatic involvement of South Korea before the captives were finally released after one month. But as to what ransom went into it, ut has not been disclosed. Exactly two months after that incident, two Koreans, a Captain and a Chief Engineer were again taken to unknown destination when a fishing vessel belonging to BSK Marine was attacked in the Ghanaian waters off Ada,” General Secretary, Richster Nii Amarh Amarfio told Citi Business News.
The Association says the Korean crew of fishing vessels has threatened to deflag and relocate to Senegal which attracts only $20.00 licensing fee as opposed to Ghana’s fee of $135.00.
It says these attacks, coupled with the high licensing fee, are threatening their business as the Korean partners are considering leaving the country.
“If our waters are not protected, it will not be safe for fishing; and once it’s not safe for fishing, then we have to pack our vessels. Once we pack our vessels, we’ll be losing, because the tuna sector is the downstream activity for companies like Pioneer Food Cannery; producers of StarKist Tuna, and for the women who buy tuna and sell. So, at this stage we believe that we need to give the issues that pertain to our industry a lot of attention. If we don’t do that and we do it business as usual, then that will be the end of our industry,” Richster warned.