Fishermen call for pension/fishing academy

Fishermen operating in the Western Region have expressed their dissatisfaction at Tullow Oil for its inability to clearly outline the direct benefits that will accrue to them when oil drilling begins later in the year. They said the company had not been specific despite several interactions with the fisher folks and this had made it difficult for them to convince their colleagues not to go fishing near the oil rig at West Cape Three Points. The fishermen said this at Takoradi on Tuesday at a sensitization programme organised by Tullow Oil for fishermen, boat and canoe owners, hook and line fishermen and fishmongers. The fishermen said to safeguard their profession, Tullow Oil should invest in fishing gear to make it lucrative and attractive to stay in the business while at the same time, establish a fisheries academy to train local and artisanal fishermen in modern fishing techniques. Additionally, they called for the establishment of a fishermen pension fund to support them in their old age. “Funding of such a fund should be mobilised from several sources to be disbursed to them after a period of time” they added. They expressed their disappointment about the activities of “some unknown” fishermen who continually operate close to the oil rig and ignore all warnings about the dangers associated with such acts. Nana Kondua, Chief fisherman for Abuesi who spoke on behalf of the fishermen, thanked the management of Tullow Oil for the consistent engagement and urged them to give priority to issues that affect fishermen. He said initially there was mistrust and suspicion between the fishermen and the company but after the engagements such suspicion had changed. Nana Condua said the challenges confronting the fishing industry were enormous and serious efforts must be made to overcome them. Okyeame Ampadu Agyei, Corporate social responsibility Manager of Tullow Oil, said the company would continue to engage in dialogue, effective partnership with local communities throughout its operational period He appealed to the fishermen to exercise restraint in their demand for social services and infrastructure.