Persons who practice bad fishing practices in the country have been cautioned to desist from such acts or be severely dealt with.
Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister in charge of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD), who gave the caution stressed that “enough was enough”. To this end, irrespective of one’s status or influence, the laws of the country will be allowed to deal with them to protect Ghana’s water resources and fishing industry.
She said “I will not be in bed with anyone who is caught for going contrary to the rules and regulations. You’ll face prosecution straight away. Even if you’re the son or daughter of the President, I’ll prosecute you because even the President is not happy with the illegality so he’ll support me.”
The Minister gave the warning when she engaged stakeholders in the fishing industry prior to the official announcement of the 2021 close season (ban on fishing). The meeting which was held in Keta in the Volta Region of Ghana brought together stakeholders from Anloga, Keta, Ketu South districts, and other inland fishers in the region and beyond.
This year’s closed season which commenced on July 1, 2021, is expected to end on August 31, 2021. Artisanal fishers will be observing the ban on fishing from July 1, to July 31, 2021, while industrial fishers are observing it from July 1, 2021, to August 31, 2021.
According to the Minister Ghana has had to put in place the closed season because of activities of fisherfolk, some of which were very grave fishing violations. Such as the use of carbides, light fighting, use of unapproved nets, and pair trawling.
These activities have led to over-fishing which has reduced marine fishery resources to the point that some fish species are feared to have been totally depleted.
She added that the situation has also led to massive destruction of the marine ecosystem and by extension which has some bad implications on human health.
“That is why we cannot spare any offender, such offenders must be brought to face the wrath of the law,” she reiterated.
Madam Koomson, therefore, appealed to all stakeholders to do all they can to adhere to the closed season. “It has nothing to do with politics, but replenishing the fish stock to avert the collapse of the fishing industry,” she appealed.
The meeting which had in attendance Awomefia of Anlo State, Torgbui Sri III, Municipal and District Chief Executives from the two coastal areas, fisher groups, a member of the Fisheries Committee in Parliament, and officials from MoFAD and Fisheries Commission also appealed to the artisanal fishers to observe the closed season to prevent international sanctions.
The Executive Director for Fisheries Commission Mr. Michael Arthur-Dadzie, said the closed season was important because it was the only means to replenish the fish stock without the use of unapproved remedies.
Mr. Seth Agbokede, the Volta Regional Vice Chairman for the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen’s Council (GNCFC) together with the National Fish Processors and Traders Association, Mrs. Cecilia Amedey indicated their groups’ readiness to support the efforts of the Ministry and the Commission aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the fishery industry.
They however appealed to the Ministry to as a matter of urgency remedy the issues of insufficient supply of premix fuel to landing beaches as and the cost of fishing implements.