Reverting closed fishing season back to August is technically sound

Last year, the closed season for fishing in the country was implemented in May and June (2019) – which caused some angst for the Scientific and Technical Working Group (STWG) of the fisheries sector, as they emphasised the need for government to stick to observing the fishing closed season in the month of August.

According to STWG, the month of August is the peak period for fish to breed and produce more to address the dwindling stock of fish in the nation’s marine waters.

STWG was formed as an ad hoc committee in 2015 as part of implementing the Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) to provide science-based management advice and ensure long-term sustainability of fish stock.

It appears that lessons have been learnt, as the 2020 fishing closed season is likely to be observed from July to August this year instead of May-June. We congratulate officials of the Fisheries Commission for instituting the right period to observe the fishing closed season.

A meeting hosted by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development this week backed the Scientific and Technical Working Group’s proposal of July-August as the best period to observe the closed season by all fleets for maximum impact.

Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, said the ministry is willing to work with the Scientific Community to ensure that the right things are done. This is a relief, because it’s why STWG was formed: to provide science-based management of the sector.

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Particularly so when NFAG, the Apex fisheries body, is also prepared to support the Sector ministry in ensuring that fishing is done right. Declining catches of small pelagic fish and fish stock assessments in Ghana’s marine waters show that there is an imminent risk of stock depletion.

Hence the institution of a closed season to allow for breeding, so that more fish can be produced for the country’s protein requirements since fish is widely consumed in the country.

Declining fish catches and increasing reliance on imports are creating a growing fish-trade gap; affecting incomes, increasing poverty and inducing a decline of nutritional well-being among Ghana’s fishing communities.

Weak implementation of the National Fisheries Management Plan has made it impossible to reverse the declining trends in fish stock levels; thus the need to institute a ‘closed’ season. It is for betterment of the fisheries sector, and we should all embrace it.

Jubilee House going ‘green’ is testament of commitment to SDGs

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is really living up to the billing of being Co-Chair of the Eminent Group of Sustainable Development Goals Advocates. Jubilee House, the seat of government, is to go solar.

The US$1.4million project will be completed in June this year, and will guarantee solar-powered energy to 60 percent of the Presidency. According to the Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu, this policy will guarantee government is on course to achieve 10% renewable energy in the country’s energy mix.

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The president last year made a commitment to ensure all state property goes solar when he delivered the State of the Nation address, and a year on the manifestation is here for all to see – commencing with the seat of government.

Although the target for achieving 10% of renewable energy in the country’s energy mix by 2020 shows we are lagging behind, initiatives announced by the president to ensure government buildings augment their energy source with renewable energy sources is a step in the right direction to ensure the country does not miss the target on a large scale.

Therefore, it makes for pleasant reading to learn of the commitment being exhibited by the executive arm of government, which is highly commendable. It will reduce the Jubilee House’s electricity bill significantly and send a signal for all other state facilities to follow suit.

Already, the Ministry of Energy has taken the lead in that direction and has solar panels to power the ministry; and now that Jubilee House is going ‘green’, which suggests we are serious about tapping into the renewable energy sector to cut down on the country’s huge electricity bills.

This gesture is to be commended and replicated, should the country seek to achieve its renewable energy targets. After all, our president is a Co-Chair of the Eminent Group of Sustainable Development Goals Advocates and he is playing his role as a global advocate.

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