“ONLY two people in our community here own canoes. We are forced to hire a canoe at GH₵10 daily to fish because we cannot afford to buy a canoe at the cost of GH₵1,200 in addition to the fishing nets,” Nana Kojo Mmoyin, a fisherman with over 40 years experience at Angloga (aka Akosua Village), a fishing community in Winneba, sums up the daily plight of fisherfolk.
According to the fisherman whose main source of income has been fishing, they have survived all these years through ingenious means and that continues to impact negatively on their businesses, hence it was time for the government to come to their aid.
Sharing insights into the fishing trade with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS team in Winneba, he said assistance to get their own canoes and other input such as net to work with at a subsidised fee would ensure regular supply of fishing inputs which would have a positive impact on their businesses.
Nana Mmoyin said the lack of support to them as fishermen has been the case all these years and thus appealed to the Member of Parliament, the government, individuals and organisations to help their business by assisting them with the tools they use.
Fishing at Akosua Village
There is perception that living by the seashore may pose a danger during storms but that aside, the benefits outweigh the risks.
According to Nana Mmoyin, however, living by the sea gives one access to its numerous resources.
“With fish, crabs and other seafoods in our backyard, making a living isn’t that hard. If you are not lazy you can make a good livelihood out of what we have here,” he said.
Nana Mmoyin explained that he could feed his family and sell the rest of his daily catch.
“I have been able to live a productive life for the past 40 years through fishing. At least I can cater for my seven children, so I will say it is lucrative,” he stated.
Thirty-four-year-old Mr David Nimoh was originally a carpenter but has for the past four years resorted to fishing to earn a living because he no longer finds carpentry lucrative.
He can sell between GH₵40 to GH₵60 worth of fish a day.
“If you remain focused you can make it in life through fishing,” he said.
Tales of a fishmonger
Madam Rebecca Tetteh started her trade around 1979 but said she has been unable to expand due to lack of access to capital.
As a result, she buys most of her inputs on credit to be able to sell to her clients in Accra and surrounding towns.
“I buy everything I need to work on credit, so all the profit goes to my suppliers. If oil costs GH₵140, they give it to me at GH₵170, if firewood costs GH₵150 they sell it to me at GH₵220, so how much comes to me?” she asked.
Her son, Emmanuel Addy, corroborated that her mother, like other fishmongers - mostly women - needed financial help.
“I completed senior high school in 2011 and I have plans to become an engineer but there is no help from anywhere. I am forced to learn driving as trade,” he lamented.
Another problem facing fishermen at the community is the cost of fishing net at GH₵500. They were appalled that help had never reached them despite the numerous promises to assist them, especially during electioneering.
Life at Akosua Village
It is a community of about 500 inhabitants with access to social amenities such as electricity and water, though not all can afford them.
The main economic activity is fishing. It has a school now, unlike in the past when pupils walked about three miles to attend school.
The months of August and September are their main fishing season and they do not fish on Wednesdays.
History has it that they migrated from the Volta Region about 100 years ago in search of fishing.
An opinion leader, Efo Kofi Ahiadzor, appealed to the authorities to fix the road network in the village.
Fish is the most important source of animal protein and is consumed in all regions of Ghana, providing Ghanaians with up to 60 per cent of their animal protein requirements, states the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
For local consumption, fish is available in many forms, including fresh, smoke-salted, dried, salted and dried, canned and fried.
The FAO says the fisheries sector contributes significantly to Ghana’s economy in terms of food security, employment, poverty alleviation and foreign exchange revenues, with 4.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 12 per cent of the agricultural GDP, 10 per cent of the labour force, and supports the livelihoods of 10 per cent of Ghana’s population. GB