Epun (WR), Nov. 5, GNA – Women involved in the fish trade along the six coastal districts of the Western Region have been brought together to deliberate on ways of forming a strong network and partnership to convey their concerns in a unified voice for results.
The networking event for women in the fishing industry, was also to enable them to build a strong voice for change in fisheries management as a step to finding solutions to the myriad of problems with regards to bad fishing practices.
The programme, organised by Daasgift Quality Foundation, an NGO at Epun in the Ellembelle district is part of the Canada-IFC Local Economic Development Programme which is being implemented by International Finance Corporation in partnership with Global Affairs Canada.
Mrs Gifty Baaba Asmah, the Executive Director of the NGO said developing the potential and leadership skills of women was critical for nation building and pointed out that improving the lives of women was an improvement on society as women contributed a lot to the development of the home and country at large.
The Executive Director said the networking event was therefore a follow up on leadership and advocacy training for the more than 100 selected women within the fisheries sector to familiarise themselves, create a bond and a network to push forward their operational concerns in the discharge of their duties.
It also brought out stunning revelation about the operations in the fishing sector with regards to premix fuel and its distribution, the use of rubber nets as well as long lasting insecticide net among other chemicals and light for fish which the women claimed continued to be a huge factor against the fight of marine resources depletion.
The women accused Sekondi, Axim and Komeda fishermen of light fishing which allowed the catching of minute fish from the sea.
Ms Gifty Cobinah, ‘Konkohemaa’ from Ankobra said women could stop all bad behaviours by their male counterparts if they were a united force and rejected any bad fishes and small ones as a result of chemicals and small nets.
“We patronise their catch, and if all of us decide to reject such bad catches, I don’t think they will continue to abuse the sea”, she added.
Nana James Antobam, the Chief Fisherman from Axim encouraged the women to have confidence in themselves and stand against all practices that did not help their trade.
He said, ” Yaa Asantewaa was the first woman to initiate a war and fired a gun…woman are not cowards, stand together with us the men in moving society forward “.
Mr Emmanuel Quao, the project coordinator said the duties of the NGO was among others to highlight societal issues and initiate a course for change.
He said over the period Daasgift had initiated some economic empowerment programmes among project communities to expose them to micro credit, leadership, literacy and advocacy among others to help raise the standard of living of the people.
In a related development, a communiqué compiled by the women and mooted by general acceptance wants the government to have the premix sold at filling stations at a discount to avoid the hoarding and overpricing which is reducing income levels of fishermen.
They also called for the enforcement of all laws governing the sector and pledged to stop the patronage of bad fishes caught with chemicals.
Above all, the women, were more than willing to participate in decision making in the fisheries governance sector by offering themselves for leadership roles.