Stakeholders share views on fishing closed season
They, therefore, urged the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU), the Fisheries Commission (FC) and the Ministry of Fisheries and Acqua Cultural Development (MoFAD) to collaborate to ensure a successful fishing closed season.
Sharing expectations of this year’s closed season with the Ghana News Agency, a member with the Fisheries Enforcement Unit, Nana Agyemang Opambour, said “the Unit will be going round to educate and sensitize fishing communities on the closed season.”
The FEU would also intensify sea patrols to ensure that no fisherman would go to sea during closed season, adding that the unit would also intensify its patrols to ensure that no fisher engaged in illegal fishing activities.
Nana Agyemang Opambour said after four years of the inception of closed season, he expected to see significant changes in the fisheries sector.
Convenor for Fisheries Alliance and Director for Nsemkafo Consult, Mr.Kwadwo Yamoah Kyei told GNA that all forms of illegal fishing must be dealt with during and after the closed season by the implementation of deterrent actions to combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing.
He called for Fisheries Enforcement to be prioritized with the government providing adequate resources for the marine police and the FEU to enable them to provide commensurate deterrence through enforcement actions.
“I expect the Ministry of Fisheries and Acqua Culture Development (MoFAD) to urgently remove all illegal nets especially the widespread illegal small mesh size nets and monofilament nets and replaced with legal nets which would contribute to reduction of high volumes of juvenile fish land and help the fish stock to recover.
Mr. Kyei Yamoah also expects that MoFAD would work with Fishers and stakeholders to implement IUU compliance monitoring and reporting mechanisms along the entire coastline of Ghana.
He also urged MoFAD to collaborate effectively with neighbouring countries to implement the Monitoring control and surveillance strategies to address Ghanaian fisher folks moving to fish in Togo and others during closed season.
Mr. Kyei Yamoah added that “it is my expectation that MoFAD does not overspend in the name of relief items during closed season but rather increase investment for supplementary livelihoods for fishers to ensure sustainable reduction of fishing effort and to reduce the stress on fish stocks.
President of Canoe Fishermen and Gear Owners Association of Ghana, Nana Kweigya said the implementation of closed season in the artisanal fisheries sector had been successful in terms of compliance by fishers but confidence in the closed season as a measure to recover the fishery had waned over the years.
He said artisanal fishers have not realized any significant improvement in catch.
Nana Kweigya added that benefits of the closed season touted by proponents found little credence among artisanal fishers hence, “it is not surprising that after successful implementation in 2019,2021 and 2022, access to assessment reports has been limited and fishers denied access to the report”.
He said closed season may be a good fisheries management measure, but until implementation was effective, there would not be enough benefits despite the huge sacrifices and the huge cost of implementation”.
Nana Kweigya observed that ” in the face of growing economic hardship, it was time to provide financial support to fishers during the closure.
Chief Fisherman of Anomabo Nana Kojo Bonfir V said fishers used to observe the closed season from May 31 to June 30 before the government changed the period from July to August.
He said the current period did not help fishermen, saying the government’s explanation that the fish stock spawn in July was untenable.
Nana Kojo Bonfir V said the first year of the implementation in July witnessed a bumper catch after the closed season, but subsequent years had failed and expected the fishing closed season to be reverted to June.
He said July was the period for fishers to work after the closed season in June to get money to pay their debts.
Western Regional Director at the Fisheries Commission, Mr. Joseph Yeboah encouraged fisherfolks to adhere to the closed season period.
He also appealed to the public “to help the Commission observe the closed season period to manage our resources.”
Mr. Yeboah said the Ministry would support fisherfolks with relief items like rice, oil, pans, and freezers, among others.
The Director warned that those who violated the closed season laws would be handed over to the FEU to prepare them for court.