Gov’t asked to broaden consultation on 2030 fishing closed season

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Shama fishermen

Some chief fishers in the Central Region, have urged the Government to broaden the consultation on the fishing closed season for 2023, by involving many fishers in the discussion to contribute to avoid agitations.

Shama fishermenThey however, said they have accepted the upcoming closed season scheduled for July this year, but effective stakeholders engagement with fishers and not committee members could lead to a more favourable date that would be accepted by all.

Nana Kwame Yah Ababio, the Central Regional Secretary of the Ghana National Canoe Owners Association of Ghana (GNCOAG), who spoke on behalf of the fishers at a meeting with the Central Regional Minister, Mrs Justina Marigold Assan, said life became difficult for them during last year’s closure and their families bore the brunt as they could not pay their children’s school fees, amongst other provisions.

The meeting was to deliberate on issues confronting their vocation and to discuss developmental issues in the region.

Mr Ababio said they the fishers disagree with the July date and prefer the May/June closed season, because the rains and stormy weather occur around that period, which affected their work as the storms destroyed their fishing gears and nets.

He said the implementation of the closed season over the years during the minor seasons, yielded zero results and needed consultation with the active fishermen.

The Secretary said the sector ministry must devise ways to manage the fishing sector.

He however, commended the Government for the various interventions to improve the fishing sector such as provision of outboard motors, construction of sea defence projects across the coastal belt and the building of harbours, among others.

He pleaded with Ministry of Fisheries to initiate alternative livelihood programmes for fishers to survive and continue their daily activities during the closed season.

Mr Charles Smith, the Communication and Media Officer of the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), called on stakeholders to work together in helping replenish the country’s depleting fish stocks.

He said what worked for stakeholders in the sector during the 2019 and 2021 closed season, was communication and engagements with fishers across the four coastal regions.

To achieve the objective in subsequent years, Mr Smith said it was important to engage and commit to ending all other forms of illegal fishing to realise the gains of the closed season.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) and the Fisheries Commission announced a nationwide closed season for fishing from Friday July 1 to Saturday, July 30, 2022, for Artisanal and semi- industrial fleets.

Also, two months closed season had been scheduled for industrial trawlers from Friday, July 01 to Wednesday August 31.

The closed season was reintroduced by the Government in 2019, to among other objectives, allow recovery of the country’s over exploited and depleted fish stocks.

It was being implemented by MoFAD in collaboration with the Fisheries, Commission, and other stakeholders in accordance with section 84 of the Fisheries Acts 625.

By Victoria Agyemang, GNA

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