Government has announced that the 2021 fishing Closed Season will begin from July 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021.
The announcement and implementation of the closed-season by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) forms part of strategies agreed with stakeholders to reduce the excessive pressure and over-exploitation of stocks in the marine subsector, and to help replenish Ghana’s falling marine fish stock.
Sector minister Mavis Hawa Koomson, who made the announcement in Accra yesterday, expressed optimism that implementation of the strategy will enable the sector to achieve the desired long-term objective of stock-recovery.
Last year, the policy was not executed due to COVID-19 management measures.
Explaining the schedule for implementation, she said Artisanal and Semi-industrial fleets will carry out the exercise from July 1, 2021 to July 31, 2021; while Industrial Trawl vessels will break from July 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021.
“The approved dates were based on scientific advice and in consultation with various Fisheries Associations,” Hawa Koomson disclosed.
Meanwhile, MoFAD has acknowledged the ever-increasing challenge of illegal and unreported fishing, and observed that the desired result of implementing closed-seasons will be attained when illegal activities such as transshipment, the use of poisonous and toxic chemicals, dynamite and other explosives are effectively controlled in fishing.
Though illegal and unreported fishing activities is said to cost Ghana an annual value of more than US$50million, MoFAD said it is determined to collaborate with the various fisheries association such as the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council, the National Fisheries Association of Ghana, Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association, and the Ghana In-shore Fishers Association to end the illegalities.
Data from MoFAD indicate that the fisheries sector supports the livelihood of about 3 million Ghanaians along the fisheries and aquaculture value chain. But stakeholders believe that the sector could benefit more Ghanaian families if resources are channeled to fighting illegal fishing activities.
Representatives and leaders of the various associations and other stakeholders have all pledged their commitment, to government, to abide by the rules in order to enforce the closed-season over the next two months.
“We are in solidarity with this initiative, and pledge to support it to be fruitful. We also ask MoFAD to constantly patrol the waters to check any illegalities in our absence. We however want to implore government to research and share findings with us after the closed-season, enabling us know the future and prospects of the industry,” the president of the Ghana In-shore Fishers Association told the B&FT.