The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MOFAD) said there would be no closed season this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, announced this on Friday when her ministry took delivery of 1,300 outboard motors for distribution to fishermen at affordable prices to improve their productivity.
She said the ministry earlier this year planned with stakeholders to implement the closed season (July to September) and started engagements to help fishers prepare for it, but had to stop to respect the COVID-19 restrictions.
She said instead, plans had been put in place to deepen sensitisation for the 2021 all fleet close season.
The consignment of outboard motors made up of 1,200 Horsepower (40 HP) and 100(15HP) was the first batch of over 5,000 outboard motors imported with initial funding from the Agriculture Development Bank (dab Bank). Government, through the Ministry of Special Development Initiative has paid for the 1,300 outboard motors.
Mrs Afoley Quaye, together with officials of adb Bank and Coastal Development Authority (CODA) inspected the equipment at the Japan Motors warehouse.
She said the government through the ministry was collaborating with CODA to provide the outboard motors under the fishing input support scheme aimed at enhancing the livelihoods of fishers and the fishing communities.
She noted that the 40HP outboard motor sold on the open market for close to GH¢20,000.00 was being offered at a subsidised rate of GH¢10,000.00, while the 15HP outboard motor was being offered for sale at GH¢5,500.00.
Mrs Afoley Quaye said committees comprising representatives of CODA, MOFAD, regional ministers and the relevant Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, Landing Beach Committees and relevant fisheries associations have shortlisted beneficiaries under the programme.
“This gesture indicates government’s commitment to improve the lot of fisherfolks and increase productivity,” she said.
Mrs Afoley Quaye thanked adb Bank and Japan Motors for their contributions and encouraged fishers to reciprocate the goodwill by the government through subsidised inputs including outboard motors and premix fuel, by fishing with appropriate methods and gears.
The Managing Director of adb Bank, Dr John Kofi Mensah said the bank provided profitable and diversified financial services for a sustained contribution to agricultural development and wealth creation.
He said the bank committed GH¢20 million to import the outboard motors without any profit motive adding, “we could have made a profit of GH¢7 million but rather chose to assist government to create a solid foundation for agribusiness to thrive.”
FROM GODFRED BLAY GIBBAH, TEMA.