Ban on fishing to start on August 7 – MOFAD

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Government has imposed a one-month ban on all fishing activities in the country.

The ban takes effect from August 7 to September 4, this year.
Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, announced this at a press conference in Accra on Friday.
The Minister explained that the closed season is meant for all fleets, comprising canoes, inshore boats and trawlers. 
Vessels involved in the harvesting of tuna are, however, exempted from the ban.
According to the sector Minister, vessels involved in the harvesting of tuna conduct their business at deep seas and were not near areas reserved for other fleets.
The Minister said 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.”
According to her, the closed season was not going to be a one-off process, adding that it would continue annually until Ghana’s fishing stock improved.
She 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 because there was weak governance in the fishing sector, and so there was the 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.”
The Minister noted that continuing with the closed season policy with good fisheries management and enforcement practices against illegal fishing, it was expected that landing of small pelagic fish by artisanal fisheries would increase from 15,000 metric tonnes to 90,000 metric tonnes by the year 2025.
She said countries such as Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea Conakry and Rodriguez Island near Madagascar have been able to go through closed season and they were reaping more benefits.
The sector Minister said security forces and other agencies would be on standby to ensure an incident-free closed season.
She said under the Fisheries Act, persons found engaged in fishing during closed seasons could be fined $500,000 and others could also have their gears seized.
Meanwhile, some fisher folks have expressed their misgivings about the closed season. Some disagree with the timing, and lamented over the need to secure some types of fishes for their festive occasions.
Ghana has over 13,000 artisanal canoes, 80 Ghanaian flagged trawlers and 300 semi-industrial boats on her waters. Although fishing is very high, the catch had been extremely low.

By Naomi Quarshie ABAKWAN and Mercy Akpene AMEVOR, Accra

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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