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General News of Saturday, 4 May 2019

Source: Class FM

We'll not renege on closed fishing season this year – MOFAD

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MOFAD) has reiterated its commitment to see through the observance of the fishing closed season scheduled for 15th May 2019 through to 15th June 2019 and 1st August 2019 to 30th September 2019.

Having reneged on the 2018 version of the fishing closed season to make room for expansive stakeholder consultations, the Ministry said it is confident that it is primed to see-out a successful implementation of the 2019 closed season.

Last year, the Ministry heeded to concerns by some stakeholders in the sector and consequently postponed the nationwide fishing closed season to exhaustively address the concerns that had arisen in the wake of the announcement that the ban was set to take effect.

According to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Ms Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, the ministry has made significant efforts to ensure that the input of key stakeholders was taken into account in the lead up to this year’s closed season.

“This year we wanted it to be a demand-driven activity. So we asked the fishermen themselves to give us the date that makes them comfortable. While taking note of the scientific evidence provided to the sector Ministry by the researchers, regard was also given to the socioeconomic implications of the implementation of this great concept by the fishermen."

"In our consultations, we came to a conclusion; the fishermen themselves gave us the dates within which they believe we can observe the closed seasons. So, they gave us the 15th of May to the 15th of June for the inshore and artisanal fishermen. The industrial trawlers also agreed to observe their closed season from the 1st of August to 30th of September,” Ms Quaye stated.

While global fishing best practices acknowledge closed fishing seasons as an effective mechanism for curbing overfishing and many allied ills in the industry, the Ministry in a statement conceded that any new phenomenon or practice may be inconveniencing at the onset and has, therefore, entreated stakeholders to cooperate to ensure that Ghana savours the monumental benefits that come with a thoroughly observed fishing closed season.

In response to calls from certain quarters to rather move the closed season to July 2019, the Ministry in its statement reiterated that the stipulated date was a collective choice of a greater percentage of stakeholders who also share the notion that the selected date will not affect traditional festivities earmarked around that period.

The Ministry together with its key stakeholders said it is poised to deliver governments expectation of a robust, thriving fisheries sector.

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