The Fisheries Commission has been urged by the National Fisheries Association of Ghana to reduce the recently announced increase in fishing license fees for operating a fishing vessel on Ghanaian waters.
A member of the Association, Richter Nii Armah Amarfio, in an interview with Citi News, accused the Fisheries Commission of short-changing members of the association by introducing the new fishing licensing fee.
According to him, the Fisheries Commission has in the past neglected their plights and has only been interested in taking money from them.
He further explained that the operational cost of fishermen has increased significantly to a point where their businesses have been negatively affected.
“At this time, our cost of operation is going high and our income is going low. We have raised concerns that our Pole and lines vessels are collapsed and nothing is happening, the ministry and the commission does not do anything to enhance the work of the industry, their interest is how to raise money from us and we think it doesn’t work to our benefit. We can’t just pay it, we can break even, we can’t add to our current operational cost, it will collapse our businesses.”
The Fisheries Commission in a letter dated December 31, 2019, and signed by its Executive Director, Mr. Michael Arthur-Dadzie, indicated that the new fishing license fees approved by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning would take effect from January 1, 2020.
The letter stated that “the chargeable rate per vessel for all industrial vessels (Tuna and Trawlers) is US$200 per GRT or its equivalent at the prevailing Bank of Ghana rate”.
As at May 2018, Ghana’s license fee was said to be the cheapest among the 10 countries implementing the West African Regional Fisheries Project with commercial fishing activities.
This was said to be a major factor for the depletion of fish stock in the country’s territorial waters.
On the same league table with Mauritius, Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana’s license rate of $35 for industrial fishing vessels was identified to be the lowest rate among these countries,