Secretary to the Ghana Tuna Association, Richster Nii Amarh Amarfio, has called for the establishment of fisheries banks to support the operations of industry players.
He said most banks did not understand the fishing industry well enough to give loans for its operations, which had made some companies to fold up.
Mr. Amarfio, also the Director of Operations at Laif Fisheries, said this at the Tema Regional Industrial News Hub Dialogue of the Ghana News Agency, which is a media think-tank platform for commercial and business operators.
He said, “Fishing companies do not have access to loans and even if the banks gave loans, the interest rates were way beyond what the companies could manage”.
Mr. Amarfio explained that some of the pole and line vessels were about 45 years old, so running them was very expensive due to high maintenance costs.
“These vessels are operated by Koreans, Japanese, and few Chinese. The law allows for joint venture, 50/50 and all the captains on the tuna vessels are mostly Koreans. It is expensive to use a foreign captain,” he said.
“You need to pay your crew and provide them with food for the period they will be at sea, which is between 35 and 40 days, water fetched from the port is paid at a dollar rate, docking is paid in dollars and everything we do at the port is pegged to the dollar.”
Mr Amarfio called on the government to support the sector to increase the Ghanaian stake in the process of acquiring new vessels.
Francis Ameyibor, the Tema Regional Manager of the GNA, said as the Dialogue served as a critical platform to allow stakeholders in commerce and industry to engage the media on national issues.
He explained that activities on the sea were dynamic but under-reported, therefore the initiative by the Agency to create a platform to offer stakeholders a channel to reach out to the public.
The dialogue sought to help fill the “ocean news gap and enhance reportage on fisheries and other activities on the sea to improve livelihoods”.