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General News of Saturday, 23 March 2019


Fisheries Ministry announces 2019 Closed Season

Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Francis Ato Codjoe Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Francis Ato Codjoe

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has announced the 2019 Closed Season to be observed by all fleets in the country’s marine waters.

The Closed Season is to address the dwindling stock of fishes in the nation’s marine waters.

Announcing the timelines for industry players, Mr Francis Ato Codjoe, the Deputy Sector Minister, said the Tuna fleets began theirs from January 1 to February 28, 2019, but the Inshore and Artisanal fleets would begin theirs from May 15 to June 15, whilst the Industrial Trawlers would start from August 1 to September 30, 2019.

He told Parliament that the Ministry was ready to implement the 2019 Closed Season for all fleets.

It would be recalled that in August, last year, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, together with the Fisheries Commission, decided to use the Closed Season to address the declining stock of fishes in the nation’s waters, in accordance with Section 76(3) and 84 of the Fisheries Act 2002 (Act 625).

While the Ministry had consultations with stakeholders, a number of issues including the late announcement of the Closed Season, inadequate consultation and low consensus building was raised.

The August 2018 Closed Season was, therefore, postponed to enable the Ministry to further engage with the stakeholders towards a successful implementation in 2019.

Mr Codjoe explained that following the postponement of the 2018 Closed Season, the Ministry and the Fisheries Commission intensified their engagements with stakeholders including the National Fisheries Association of Ghana, Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council, Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association, as well as Parliament Select Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs for a smooth implementation in 2019.

He said the Ministry had already informed Cabinet about its willingness to implement the Closed Season for all fleets.

The Closed Season for the Tuna Fleet had never been an issue because in 2018 it adhered to the regulation very well, he said.

Mr Eric Opoku, Ranking Member on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs, urged government to introduce measures to increase fish production to cut down on the huge import of fish into the country.

He called for support for the fishermen during the implementation of the Closed Season as fishing was their only livelihood.

He said the Government must ensure that there was enough fish stock in the cold stores to serve as a precaution against price increase during the one month Closed Season.

Mr Opoku raised concerns as to whether the Ministry had assessed the cost to the nation of the implementation of the programme and stressed the need for proper consultation.

He said the very fish that the Ministry was trying to protect migrate to neighbouring countries in September and so if those countries did not enforce the Closed Season policy Ghana may lose.