Closed season: Two fishermen perish  after fishing expedition

Story: News Desk

Two fishermen from Tema Manhean have been confirmed dead after an alleged encounter with the security of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) on the sea when they went for a fishing expedition on Thursday dawn.

ATV  understands that even though artisanal fishers are currently observing a closed season, which would end on July 31, 2023, the traditional council had some arrangement with the Ministry of Fisheries to allow a designated crew operate for the needed fish for the traditional customs towards the celebration of their annual Homowo festival.

Nii Odametey II, the Tema Awudum Chief Fisherman, explaining the issue, said that as the Ga communities were in their festival period, they had an arrangement with the Ministry for such an expedition, adding that all the security agencies were aware as that was the normal practice since the closed season commenced four years ago.

Nii Odametey stated that the crew went fishing at about 00:00 hours on Thursday, adding, however, that at about 03:30 to 04:00 hours, they received a report that they were on duty when GPHA’s security allegedly beat them, leading to the deaths of the two.

He added that the incident was reported to the police, and personnel visited the canoe beach to verify the death, after which the bodies were deposited at the International Maritime Hospital mortuary.

He expressed worry at the turn of events, as according to him, the security must know better since they have the clearance to fish for their festival.

Mr. Yasil Arafat Ali, the night security man in charge of the canoe beach, also told the media  that the interactions with the fishermen when they returned from the fishing expedition revealed that 12 of them were on the boat when the incident happened.

Mr. Ali noted that at about 04:30 hours when the fishers returned, they indicated that after casting their net for some time on the upper part of the sea, they did not get the fish species they needed and therefore decided to head downwards to try their luck.

He added that they said they spotted the GPHA launch approaching them from upwards, and without any questions, they ran over their canoe with the launch, capsizing it.

This, they noted, placed them into the water, adding that after gaining their composure and turning off the canoe, they realized that the two deceased fishermen were in it.

Meanwhile, Mr. Isaac Tawiah, the Marketing and Public Relations Manager at the Fishing Harbour told the GNA that GPHA was investigating the incident to unravel the circumstances that led to it.
Hundreds of residents of Tema Newtown thronged the canoe beach in the early hours of Thursday to catch a glimpse of the dead bodies as they expressed sadness over the incident.

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