Fisheries Ministry announces ‘closed season’

The Ministry of Fisheries has announced May 15 to June 30 as the “closed season” period for fishers engaged in artisanal fishing and August 1 to September 30 for industrial fishers.

This follows a number of consultations with the various stakeholders in the fishing industry including Ghana Canoe Fishermen Council, Chief Fishermen, traditional rulers and fish mongers from across the country.

Addressing journalists in Accra yesterday, the Sector Minister, Mrs Elizabeth Afoley Quaye said the ban on fishing was a necessary evil needed to replenish the fish stocks in our waters.

She said over the years, the country’s fish stock had dwindled due to a number of factors including bad fishing practices and over exploitation of fish resource.

Mrs Quaye said even though the annual ban should have taken place in August, the number of controversies and public outcry against its implementation meant it had to be suspended to ensure broader consultation.

According to her, upon consultation, the ministry and the key important stakeholders agreed that instead of the August to September ban, the closed season should be staggered into two different periods to both artisanal fishers and industrial fishers.

She said upon further consultation, the ministry realised that even though, the period between August and September was the peak period for the fishes to breed, the utilisation of the resource by artisanal fishers was not as intensive as that of the industrial fisher.

As a result the consensus was that the closed season for inshore artisanal fishers should be brought forward to May 15 to June 15 while that of industrial fishers be maintained as August 1 to September 30.

She said unlike last year, the implementation of the policy for this year had largely been demand driven and was of the hope that the comprehensive consultation involved in arriving at the decision would lead to all fishers in the country complying with the ban.

The Minister said though it was a tough and difficult decision, the overall outcome would inure to the benefit of the fishers who depend largely on the sea for their activities.

She said even though the ban was demand driven, the ministry would also ensure full compliance to make it effective.

By Cliff Ekuful

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