FISHERIES: The Sea begins a month long ‘vacation’ today
Beginning today May 15, 2019, all artisanal fishing activities in the sea have been suspended till June 15, 2019 in line with the observation of the closed season aimed at restoring the depleting fish stocks in the Ghanaian sea.
Date Created : 5/15/2019 10:17:55 AM : Story Author : Dominic Shirimori/Ghanadistricts.com
The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Elizabeth Afoley-Quaye, flanked by her deputy and other stakeholders in the fishing sector performed the symbolic closure of the sea at Winneba on May 14, 2019 with a call on all players in the sector to see this move as a positive step towards revamping their fishing business.
She noted that the implementation of the closed season is not an imposition from government, rather it is enshrined in section 84 of the Fisheries Act, 2002 (Act 625) which is geared towards replenishing the fish stock levels gradually over a period of time.
She said a fish stock assessment report from the Fisheries Commission over the period revealed a decline in fish stock levels and size due to activities of over-exploitation and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities among others. "In 2017, the sector suffered a decline of 14.3 percent in total marine fish production, from 342,427mt to 293,294mt in 2018. This continuous decline of the resource has necessitated the adoption of the closed season strategy to help address this phenomenon”.
The closure of the sea to artisanal fishing this year is historic because, last year, the decision to operationalize the closed season in August was called off on grounds that there was limited stakeholders’ engagement and concerns of limited notice to fishermen.
It is therefore refreshing that a broader consultative stakeholders’ meeting carried out by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Fisheries Commission to adequately inform and prepare the public has paid off.
The sector Minister also advised that it would be in the interest of all the fisher folks to comply with the closed season since they personally proposed the dates for the observation of the closed season; adding that there are consequences for those who would flout the directive not to go fishing during the one month period; and the law would deal with such individuals.
She said it is high time they did something to revamp the fishing stock after 17 years of passing the law.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of Fisheries, Francis Ato Cudjoe reminded the fishermen to clear their minds of engaging in illegal fishing practices when the season reopened since such practice would erode the very positive impacts the closed season is to achieve.
He said the Ministry is working hard with the government to get fishing equipment like outboard motors among others at subsidized prices for the fishermen to boost their business when the season open.
Various stakeholders in their solidarity messages hailed the implementation of the closed season messages admonished various players to be law abiding in making the period a success.