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Government announces closed fishing season

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development on Wednesday announced a closed fishing season for inshore and artisanal fishers, from May 15 to June 15.

This is consistent with the Fisheries Regulations and Marine Management Plan.

Industrial trawlers would be observing the closed season from August 1 to September 30.

The decision was reached following extensive consultations between the |Ministry, fishermen associations and other key stakeholders in the.

The government, last year, had to call off the enforcement of the closed season in August due to the concerns raised by the fishermen and complaints that they were not adequately consulted.

Some fishing communities also had problems with timing as many of them often celebrated their fishing festivals in August.

The closed fishing season is a period fisherman are prohibited from fishing in the ocean to enable the fingerling to grow and ensure heavy catch upon resumption of fishing activities.

Madam Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, announcing the ban at a news briefing in Accra, said the fishers had this time around been adequately engaged and did not foresee anybody opposing the decision.

This year’s closed fishing season was demand-driven and voluntary one and therefore the fishermen were asked to provide a suitable period that they found comfortable.

They came out with the date at a stakeholder meeting held at the NAFAG Hall in Tema.

The Minister said although the Fisheries Act, 2002 (Act 625) made it mandatory for the fisheries sector to observe a closed season, it had never been implemented.

If fully observed, this year, it would be the first time the Ministry would have implemented a major fisheries policy intervention.

The Ministry would collaborate with the Fisheries Enforcement Unit, comprising representatives from the Fisheries Commission, Ghana Navy, Ghana Maritime Authority and Attorney-General’s Office, to monitor and ensure compliance of the closed season.

Asked whether government would offer any financial support for fishers during the period, she said the state did not have the resources to do that.

It would rather provide them with subsidized fishing inputs – approved fishing nets, outboard motors and others.

That, she said, would give them the necessary respite upon resumption of fishing activities to increase catch.

The Minister warned that anyone caught flouting the directive would be arrested and prosecuted.

Source: GNA

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