Members of the Ghana Canoe and Gear Owners Association have urged government to consider policy on safety and security of fishers, as the world observe Drowning Prevention Day.

July 25 has been set aside by the United Nations to highlight the tragic and profound impact of drowning on families and communities and for stakeholders to offer life-saving solutions to prevent drowning.

According to the Association, as key stakeholders in artisanal fisheries, the policy would be a major boost for their members, as small-scale fishing ranks among world most dangerous professions, adding, people living and working in fishing communities are at high risk of drowning due to the increased exposure to water.

“Children of fishers who live in close proximity to water are also at high risk of drowning, and it is sad to note that drowning is among the ten leading causes of death for children and youth”.

A statement by the Association in commemorating the day noted that, high -risk practices in artisanal fisheries include, fishing in bad weather, fishing in unsafe waters, using unsafe canoes or fishing boats, not having appropriate safety equipment accessible, and allowing fishing boats to be operated by untrained or fatigued crew.

“As the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development takes steps to come up with a new Fisheries Law and a new Fisheries Management Plan, it is important to consider a policy on Safety and Security of Fishers, including an Operationalized Strategy that takes into consideration, training for rescue persons for fishers, training for fishers before joining crew, setting up a distress call line and rescue services, fishers going to sea in life jackets and with other safety gears, and installation of Automatic Identification System (AIS) on canoes”, the statement added.

The Association also urged the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Fisheries Commission (FC) to consider safety and security of fishers in the fisheries governance and management.

This, the statement said, gives more meaning to section 51 of Act 625, which enjoins the FC to protect and promote the development of artisanal fisheries in Ghana.