Project Coordinator with the Friends of the Nation, Kyei Yamoah has argued that subsidies and provision of free fishing gear to fishermen have no relative value addition to the economic activity and livelihood of players in the industry. He opines that the most critical factor that drives the economy in fishing communities is the stock of fish in the ocean.
Mr Kyei Yamoah remarked that the organization does not support government and other agency support in terms of provision of fishing gear and subsidies on machinery, premix fuel and other cost elements borne by the fisherfolk.
“The issue with the fishing is not the availability of the gears and the inputs. It’s not the availability of the premix fuel or the price of the premix but the availability of the fish. So for us, we do not support any government highly subsidizing inputs for fisherfolks. Because when you do that and the fish stock is declining, the fishermen will go and they will still make a loss”, he emphasized.
He recommended that “the most important thing is to ensure that the fish is available, and once you do that you are able to let the fishermen buy their own gears, buy premix fuel at the premium prices, and go out there and still make profit. So the dynamics must be looked at”
Mr. Yamoah recounted that the closed season which was “ignorantly” protested by industry players is one of the most responsive approach to help replenish the fish stock.
“We all heard last year when the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture with stakeholders wanted to close the season so that the fish could breed…can produce more so that there would be more fish. These are very laudable mechanisms and measures that need to be put in place rather than subsidies on premix and outboard motors, where fishermen go to sea and does not get the fish”, he clarified.
His comments comes on the back of claims made by the former president, John Dramani Mahama, that the livelihood of fisherfolk are worsening under the current government due to outrageous prices of premix fuel and outboard motors in the country.
John Mahama on Wednesday 9 January 2019, during his campign tour in Sekondi for the flagbearer for the NDC come 2020, stated that premix fuel and outboard motor which were selling Ghc 3.75p and Ghc 6,000 during his tenure, are now selling GHC 7.50p and Ghc 16,000 respectively under the Nana Addo led administration.
But Mr. Yamoah corrected that price of these factors [premix and fishing gear], are determined by inflation, import duties and global market prices fluctuations.