Challenging Heights has provided financial support valued at GH¢250,000 to 368 fishermen in Winneba to help them cope with the impact of this year’s fishing closed season.
The beneficiaries were carefully selected from a number of caregivers of school-going children whose sources of income have been seized as a result of the closed season.
Beneficiaries of this support received a cash amount ranging from GH¢500 to GH¢1,000, depending on their needs.
According to Challenging Heights, this cash support is meant for various purposes, including the repair of fishing gear, support for their children’s education, and for the women in the value chain to engage in petty trading.
A couple of weeks ago, the Minister of Fisheries and Aqua Culture announced a suspension of all fishing activities for the month of July, rendering fisherfolks within the fishing value chain with no alternative income sources for the period.
Presenting the financial packages, the President of Challenging Heights, James Kofi Annan, slammed the government for not doing enough to mitigate the impact of the closed season on the fishermen and fishmongers whose livelihoods are being affected.
He said artisanal fishing directly employs over 200,000 people, and over 2.2 million people in the fishing value chain.
“Asking all these men and women not to work for four weeks without providing appropriate mitigation makes the fishermen more vulnerable to poverty, and consequently impacts the education of their children,” James Kofi Annan argued.
Challenging Heights is a leading local Ghanaian anti-slavery/human trafficking organization that supports vulnerable fishing and farming communities in 12 out of the 16 regions in Ghana.
This year, the organization has so far supported 350 SHS students, 245 TVET students, and 235 tertiary students across the country.
Challenging Heights also supported 320 farmers with farm inputs during the farming season, and is currently supporting over 500 children who have been rescued from the worst forms of child labor and trafficking, as well as over 600 women in various livelihoods programs.
The organization has, in its history, rescued and supported several thousands of children, women, and youth out of poverty and out of various vulnerabilities. Challenging Heights also engages in advocacy at different levels within Ghana.
A couple of years ago, the Ghana government introduced the annual fishing closed season with the purpose of improving fish stock in the nation’s marine waters. Fishermen and fishmongers have lamented the untold hardship the closed-season policy has plunged them into.
In view of the consequences of the closed season, Challenging Heights is calling on Ghana to provide appropriate insurance packages for the affected individuals whose livelihoods depend on the fishing value chain.