The Minister of Fisheries, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye has called on stakeholders in the fishing industry to support the close season policy the ministry is introducing so as to safeguard the fish stocks in the country.
She said the closed season is not meant to deprive fisher folk of their livelihoods or bring untold hardship to them but instead safeguard the fish stock for many years to come.
“I’m calling on all of you to support. When we come out again, to talk about the closed season. It is not to make anybody uncomfortable. It is not to take food away from the mouth or tables of families. But we want to save our fishes,” she said.
Elizabeth Afoley Quaye was speaking during the swearing in of a 7 member elected executive team of the National Fish Stevedores Association (NAFSA) in Tema.
“Everything that you need as workers, will be sorted out by coming together. So, the first thing I want to applaud you for is coming together in your associations,” she said.
A Deputy Minister for Transport, and MP for Tema East, Daniel Titus Glover also seized the opportunity to charge workers operating around the Tema Fishing harbour to improve the sanitation situation at the area so as to avoid the contamination of fishes.
“The handling of the fishes, sometimes the way we dispose of them make the whole fishing harbour area quite funny, in terms of the bad odour it creates. People sit anywhere and they just throw rubbish all over the place. And when they have contact with the fish, that would be a major problem for us,” he lamented.
He tasked management of the fishing harbour to ensure that workers who enter into the hatches of vessels to bring out fishes wear the prescribed protective gears so as to protect their lives and keep the food clean as well
He entreated the associations to conduct their mandate with discipline and prioritize knowledge sharing.
“Those who enter the hatches, GPHA must ensure that they have proper protective clothing because the hatches are very cold. If you wear anything at all and you go in and out of the cold, you can develop something you don’t know in future. As part of the clearance to work as a stevedore company, ensure that the protective clothing that they wear into the hatches to work are the prescribed ones,” he admonished.
Fish stevedore companies are responsible for discharging fish cargo from vessels, and transfer the fish onto waiting trucks and to the cold stores. The National Fish Stevedores Association is an association that oversees all matters in the fish stevedoring sector including checking the operations of stevedore companies, good working conditions and promoting the welfare of workers.
The occasion also was also used to mark the inauguration of the Ports and Harbours Private Security Association who will provide security services in the Fishing Harbour enclave.
The General Manager of the Tema Fishing Harbour, Kumi Adjei-Sam who chaired the ceremony stated that GPHA has committed to modernizing the Fishing Harbour, to ensure it is safe and healthy for handling food and doing business.
“Our vision is to have a modern fishing port meeting world quality food standards and that’s what we want to do. We want to make sure that anyone who comes to the Fishing Harbour, they see that the place is well maintained and well operated. This alone can bring us a lot of business,” he opined.
The President of the NAFSA, Theophilus Biney, in a speech read on his behalf, thanked GPHA’s management for supporting the elections and inauguration of the Association.
“It was a result of the various engagements with management of GPHA, Tema Fishing Harbour, that has occasioned to this ceremony,” he said.
Earlier in September, the National Fish Stevedores Association embarked on a donation to the New Life Nungua Children’s Home where they donated 8 cartons of fish as part of their activities to mark the inauguration ceremony.
The Association also held a health screening exercise at the Tema Fishing Harbour which received wide patronage from the fishing community.