In another troubling incident, a Ghanaian fisheries observer, Samuel Abayitey, has gone missing while aboard the tuna vessel, Marine 707.
His disappearance, reminiscent of a similar case in 2019, adds to growing concerns about the safety and security of those monitoring the nation's waters.
Samuel Abayitey's role as a fisheries observer was integral to the government's efforts to combat over-fishing and tackle illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) practices by certain trawlers.
IUU fishing has been identified as a significant factor contributing to the decline of small pelagic fish, crucial to the coastal region's diet.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has confirmed the incident and is launching an investigation into the matter.
Deputy Minister Moses Annim stated, “It has come to our attention, and we have launched an investigation into the matter. We will get to the bottom of the matter.”
This is not the first instance of a Ghanaian fisheries observer going missing. Emmanuel Essien disappeared in 2019 under similar circumstances. Essien, who captured evidence of illegal fishing practices, went missing after reporting the violations.
Despite calls from Emmanuel Essien's family for government intervention, the Marine Police Division of the Ghana Police Service has been unable to provide information on his whereabouts or the circumstances of his disappearance. The incident highlighted the dangers fisheries observers face while working to uphold regulations.
Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah revealed updates on Essien's case during a media encounter on October 27, 2021.
He stated that the police had concluded their investigation, and new suspects had emerged. Further interrogation of individuals involved was ongoing, with the Attorney-General expected to provide final advice on the case.
The recent disappearance of Samuel Abayitey raises renewed concerns about the safety of fisheries observers and the urgency of addressing security issues within the industry.