Let’s support off season timeline

“The game that is chased by many people will not get lost,” is a Builsa proverb which simply means that cooperation is better than an individual effort. If the people are united in their effort, they can easily achieve their aim.

We quote this proverb above to demonstrate why it is absolutely necessary for all stakeholders in the fishing industry to cooperate in ensuring that this year’s close season is successful.

The Ghanaian Times is concerned that disagreements have emerged among fishermen groups over the closed season timeline set by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

These disagreements threaten to derail the official timeline which has become a source of worry for industry players.

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Two fishermen groups last week in Accra, and in the full glare of the public, engaged in war of words in disagreement over the timeline announced by the government for the annual off season for fishing in Ghanaian waters.

In what could be described as an internal wrangling by two groups belonging to the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC), one group has offered its support to the government timeline, while another is vehemently against it.

The government, last month, announced May 15 to June 15, 2019, as dates for the closed season to enable the country’s territorial waters replenish its depleting fish stock.

But the group opposing the government’s timeline is suggesting July 1 to July 31, 2019.

They argue that their choice of the date was based on scientific findings by eminent fish scientists.

We do not have the capacity to dispute the suggestions they have put forward, neither can we disagree with that of the government.

Our concern however, is that with a fortnight left for the ban to kick in, the disagreement has left a cloud of uncertainty hanging around the timeline.

We are worried because similar disagreements led to the postponement of the ban on fishing from 2018 to 2019 season.

At the time, the industry players expressed concerns about insufficient consultation and unfavourable timeline leading to the postponement.

It appears those same complaints are emerging and with time ticking, we are afraid the ban may be derailed again.

We, therefore suggest that a dialogue be held among the stakeholders immediately with the aim of arriving at a common ground to enable the off season take off smoothly.

Fortunately, all the groups agree on the off season. The only disagreement is on the timeline which we believe can be resolved through dialogue.

We appeal to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, to lead the dialogue with all stakeholders in order to find a suitable timeline for the off season.

We suggest that the dialogue must be done quickly so as to ensure that this year’s off season takes off smoothly with the support of all stakeholders as prescribed in the Builsa proverb.

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