Professor Wisdom Akpalu, a Natural Resource Economist, has said that out of about 76 trawlers operating on Ghana’s waters, only one is wholly-owned by a Ghanaian and the rest are owned by Chinese.
Prof. Akpalu who doubles as the President of the African Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AFAERE), went on to say that this is because Ghana’s laws do not permit foreign vessels to fish in it's waters thus the Chinese buy the vessels and get some Ghanaians to front for them.
In a report sighted by YEN.com.gh on Graphiconline.com, Prof. Akpalu said although all the 76 trawlers are registered in Ghanaian names, they are actually owned by Chinese.
“We know for a fact that Ghanaians are just fronting for Chinese. So, they are going into some kind of high purchase agreement", he explained.
"The Chinese get the vessels here, register them in the name of Ghanaians and flag them with Ghana flag,” he added.
Prof Akpalu continued and said that: "in reality, the owners are the Chinese. So at the end of the day, the interest of these trawl vessels is managed by these foreigners who are Chinese and the Ghanaians who are fronting for them only receive paltry sums of about US$1,000 and some by-catch.”
He explained that the money that Ghanaians who front for the Chinese trawl vessels get constitute only about five per cent of what the Chinese get.
Professor Wisdom Akpalu was speaking after a lecture on "Illicit Trade in the Marine Resources of West Africa", organised by the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER).
He further commented on sustainability of the fishing industry and said "because those who are getting the real profit are not Ghanaians, they don’t care about the sustainability of the industry” .
Professor Akpalu also commented on excessive fishing in our waters and said "For every renewable resource, if the rate at which you are extracting exceeds the rate at which the resource is replenishing itself, overtime the stocks will decline and every vessel will get lesser and lesser catch".
He then called for the enforcement of the fisheries laws so as to help weed out illegal practices from the sector.
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