The Ministry of Fisheries on Thursday made it clear that before it was established in January 2005, Pair Trawling was already in operation in the country.
A statement issued by the Ministry and signed by its Chief Director, Mr Emmanuel Mensah Quaye, said the Ministry had over and over again reiterated this position that companies permitted to pair trawl, were licensed in August 2,000.
The statement said the attention of the Ministry was drawn to Pair Trawling when its destructive effect began to show in the form of depleting marine stocks of fish, and low harvests, especially, by canoe fishermen.
It recalled that over the last year or so, the dispute about the genesis of Pair Trawling as a method of fishing in Ghanaian Waters, had generated a lot of passionate controversy among fishermen, fishing associations and other interested non-governmental organizations in the country.
The statement referred to a couple of letters issued to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture by the Ministry of Roads and Transport, dated August 3, 2000 and December 11, of the same year as documentary proof of the assertion by the Ministry of Fisheries.
It said in the letter dated August 3, 2000, headlined "Application for Permit to Operate Fishing Vessels-Mass Fisheries Limited, the Ministry of Roads and Transport was quoted as saying: "We have examined the application together with the related documents, of MESSRS MASS FISHERIES LTD for permit to import six new build fishing vessels and are satisfied with the principal characteristics of the vessels as outlined in the builders certificate."
The statement said the letter went on: "You may please grant permit for the importation of the vessels. The registration of the vessels will, however, be subject to survey and certification by Government Marine Surveyors, and proof of genuine Ghanaian ownership."
The statement said, the letter dated December 11, carried as its headline: "Registration and Licensing of Fishing Trawlers-'Star of the Sea,' 'Star of Hope,' 'Sekonde,' 'Abaawa Hannah,' 'Nana Akrasi,' and Maame Adadziwah'- MESSRS MASS FISHERIES LTD".
"Meanwhile, the Ministry is pleased to inform the Media that the New Fisheries Regulations specifically banning Pair Trawling as methods of fishing have been passed by Parliament," the statement added.