AS PART of the government’s efforts, through the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Fisheries Commission, to replenish the country’s depleting fish stock, fishing is expected to be banned for one month in August 2018.
The move, according to the Ministry, is to ensure that pregnant fish are able to give birth and feed properly on the chlorophos that would be supplied during the season.
The exercise, dubbed ‘Close Season’, is expected to begin on August 1 and end on August 31, when all activities on the sea by the fisher folks would be suspended.
Fishing would, however, resume in September.
Mr Francis Ato Cudjoe, the Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, made this disclosure during his opening remarks at an ongoing media training workshop on reporting on fisheries issues.
“The degree of the depletion requires some serious measures. Since 2016, the ministry has been implementing some close seasons.
“But, we are placing a ban on fishing. We have gotten to a hostile point that we have decided that we are going to close the sea to all forms of fishing activities in the month of August 2018.
“The reason why the month of August was selected was because we had a scientific technical committee that had been studying a whole month to have the Close Season for the last four years,” the Member of Parliament for the Ekumfi Constituency stated.
Composition of committee
He told the gathering that the committee that worked and selected the month of August comprised representatives of the Ghana National Fishermen Council, the Inshore Fisheries, Ghana Tuna Association, Academia and some researchers on fisheries activities.
According to him, they have been in the boardroom for the past four years and they eventually advised that for a successful Close Season to be achieved, “the best time to do it is August,” the peak of the fishing season.
One fish, 10 million fingerlings
Mr Cudjoe explained that the fish are able to come out to eat and as they eat, they carry a lot of eggs and in August, they lay the eggs and they become fingerlings in the season.
He said one fish would give a minimum of 70, 000 fingerlings and some of them can even give about 10 million, so a single pregnant fish that a fisherman can catch today has a potential of giving some 10 million fish, hence the decision to implement the Close Season concept.
“So we want to place a ban on fishing in August, when fish get pregnant and respond, eat properly to get the fingerlings to be able to replenish the fish stock,” he said.
Coastal belt cooperation
According to the deputy minister, the Ministry and the Fisheries Commission have managed to get the co-oporation of fisher folks in the Western, Central and Volta regions to implement the concept in August.
He said fisher folks in the Greater Accra Region have resisted the approach and cited, among other things, breaches of traditional customs.
“We have a difficulty with Greater Accra Region and there is a genuine reason for that. Most of the coastal communities have their festivals mainly in August and September,” he noted.
He added that “Homowo is celebrated in August, and some of the activities require that they go to sea in August, so placing a ban on fishing does affect their activities.
“But we are still talking and engaging them in a conversation. We want to ensure that we are able to do the Close Season beginning this year because where we stand, we cannot postpone this decision for a single day. We need to do it.”