Cabinet has decided to postpone the one month ban on all fishing activities in Ghana, which was expected to start August 7, 2018 to next year.
The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye, is said to have made this known Friday evening at a meeting, with stakeholders in the fisheries industry in Accra.
The ban, which would have taken effect from August 7 to September 4, 2018 will now be implemented in 2019, the Minister said.
The Minister is said to have urged operators in the sector to prepare and be ready to comply in August 2019 adding that government decided to postpone the ban following the concerns the players in the industry raised.
The closed season was meant for all fleets comprising canoes, Inshore Boats and trawlers.
Vessels involved in the harvesting of Tuna were, however, exempted from the ban because they conduct their business at deep seas and they were not near areas reserved for other fleets.
Although August had been touted as the bumper season, the same period has been described as the perfect high food production for fish to eat.
“The fish consume food rapidly, grow quickly and spawn. The maximum spawning potential is often in August every year,” the Minister said when she announced the ban in early July.
Some fisher folks expressed misgiving about the closed season. Some disagreed with the timing and lamented over the need to secure some types of fishes for their festive occasions.
An estimated 13,000 artisanal canoes, 80 Ghanaian flagged trawlers and 300 semi-industrial boats are said to be on Ghana waters. Although fishing is very high, the catch had been extremely low.
When the Minister announced the ban in July, she said the closed season was not going to be a one-off process and that it was going to continue year by year until Ghana’s fishing stock improved.
She therefore appealed to fisher folks to sacrifice a little to save the fishing industry and also save them from complaining of low catch.
Madam Afoley Quaye recounted that over the past two decades, the fisheries sector had seen a massive decline and it appeared that Ghana’s marine was heading towards “a total collapse.”
She said one of the reasons why Ghana reached that stage was the fact that, there was weak governance in the fishing sector and so there was need to salvage the situation within three years.
“Our fisheries governance mechanisms had not been able to match and stamp out the multi-faceted illegal unreported and unregulated fish practices such as use of lights for fishing and obnoxious chemical harvest among others.”