We’ll “give you something small” for closed season – Hawa Koomson promises fisherfolk

The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mavis Hawa Koomson, has announced that the government will cushion fisher folks from the Western, Greater Accra, Central and Volta regions during the 2021-closed season.

The minister, at a ceremony, to mark the closed season in Keta in the Volta Region, assured the fisher folks that they would be provided with some livelihood package and fishing materials.

“We are already in the procurement process. So, within a week or two, you will see us coming round to your regions and your fishing communities to give you something small to take care of your children,” she promised.

She added that government would supply fishing nets to eradicate the use of unauthorised fishing gear.

The fishing community will see no activity by canoe, inshore fishers and industrial trawlers in inland water bodies for about 60 days within the closed season.

Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mavis Hawa Koomson, and others at the ceremony to mark the closed season

This year’s closed season

Artisanal fishers are to observe the ban from July 1, to July 31, while industrial fishers are to observe the same from July 1, 2021, to August 31, 2021.

The ban is to restore the dwindling stock of fish in water bodies along coastal areas in the country.

The period in which fishing is stopped also enables spawning (egg production), which then allows fish eggs to fertilise into fingerlings and grow to a point where they can survive as mature fishes.

READ ALSO: Gov’t To Extend Closed Fishing Season

The minister for MoFAD noted that, except for tuna, the marine fishery resources of Ghana have been witnessing overfishing and other bad fishing practices.

This, she said, has led to the depletion of some fish species, therefore, it is important to observe the closed season to ensure a reduction in excessive pressure and over-exploitation of fish stocks in the marine sub-sector.

Madam Hawa Koomson underscored that it was for this reason that the Ministry and the Fisheries Commission started implementing a closed season in 2016 in accordance with Section 84 (1) of the Fisheries Act, 2002 (Act 625) and the Marine Fisheries Management Plan (2015, 2019).

She was hopeful that through a sustained implementation of the closed season, the sector would recover the fish stock of the country.

She urged the fisher folks to observe the ban.

“We need to constantly remind ourselves that the marine and inland sub-sectors have been confronted with challenges that have the tendency to overturn the benefits from the fisheries sector if no action is taken.”

Madam Hawa Kooson doing a symbolic closure of fishing with a dummy key

Fisherfolks laud closed season

The leadership of the fisher folks who were present at the ceremony promised to support the initiative.

They noted that it was for their own good and the good of the country, and urged all fishermen to strictly adhere to the ban and stop all bad practices when the season finally opens.

Madam Hawa Koomson led the distribution of some 192 outboard motors to the fishing communities in Ketu South, Keta, and Anloga districts.

Prior to the official closure of fishing activities, sensitisation activities were undertaken across the country.

Although the ban was observed in 2019, it was not observed in 2020 due to the country’s effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contribution of the fisheries sector towards the Ghanaian economy

The fishing sector plays an important role in contributing to economic development related to employment and supports the livelihood for an estimated 10% of the population.

The sector also helps in the reduction of poverty, serves as a source of food security, foreign exchange earnings and resource sustainability.

According to a Fisheries Management Plan of Ghana Marine Fisheries Sector report, the sector is estimated to contribute 3% of the total GDP and 5% of the GDP in agriculture, with fish constituting about 60% of the animal protein consumed in Ghana.

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