The Environmental Justice Foundation says the government of Ghana loses between US$14 million and 23 million annually in the trawl sector.
The Foundation attributes the revenue losses to low licence fees in the sector as well as poor punitive regime for fisheries-related infringements.
This was contained in a research that showed that nine out of every 10 fishing trawlers operating in Ghana are beneficially owned by the Chinese.
Fisheries Programmes Manager of the Environmental Justice Foundation, Socrates Segbor, in an interview with Citi News said, the government needs to address fronting for foreign trawl companies by locals.
“We could potentially be generating about $14.4 million annually if we were targeting this beneficial ownership. If we were targetting the beneficial owners then the right amount of fine imposed, if the vessel is forced to pay such penalties after investigations have confirmed that indeed they have committed this crime, that will be deterrent enough to prevent others from indulging in such illegalities or irresponsible fishing practices. This will subsequently be helping to reduce the overall irresponsible fishing practices that are happening across the various sectors of the marine fishing sector.”
Meanwhile, a former Executive Secretary of the Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association, Richster Nii Amarh Amarfio, says the report must be discredited.
He makes the point that the Environmental Justice Foundation is not a credible organization to publish such reports.
“I want to believe that the credibility of the Environmental Justice Foundation will first have to be called into question. Their first letter inviting industry players to the launch of their first book was signed by someone who was in the UK. They claim that people are fronting but why will a British sign a letter inviting people to a meeting of a report that was done in Ghana by a company going through equity without a cleaner.”
“From that day, I told their leaders that until they stop fronting for us to talk as Ghanaians, I will always have issues with what they come out with. As we talk, the EU is on our neck saying they want free access to our water bodies. So basically what I am saying is that, the report is not credible because they have not spoken to the people they are talking about”, he explained.