Legalise closed season for fishing – 2017 National Best Fisherman advocates

The National Best Fisherman for 2017, John Quansah, is calling on government to legalise the annual ‘closed fishing season’ in the country to ensure sustainable fishing in Ghana’s waters. Though Ghanaian fishers have for years been practicing closed season in the fishing industry, its enforcement has not been strict due to lack of legislation. Experts have argued the practice of closed season helps to replenish the country’s depleting fish stock and also give fishers the opportunity to mend their nets and repair canoes. The issue of Ghana losing fish stock has become a worry as government and other stakeholders have realized a higher percentage of fresh fish is imported yearly causing Ghana to lose revenue to other countries. Currently the industry doesn’t have agreed period. Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Kingsley Ato Cudjoe, last week said the Ministry would soon announce a one month closed season for all kinds of fishers. [caption id="attachment_87599" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Mr. Quansah [M] is the 2017 National Best Fisherman[/caption]Speaking to Takoradi-based Connect FM on Tuesday to mark the newly created UN International Day for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, Mr Quansah underscored the need for a legislation to be introduced to enforce the close season. He said the closed fishing season helps rejuvenate the sea to restore the alarming depletion of fish stock in the marine sub-sector. He observed that because the practice has no legal backing, its enforcement by authorities has been difficult; something he said is defeating the very purpose of closed season practice in the country. Justifying the need for legislation, the best national fisherman cited other African countries like Mauritania where governments ensure strict adherence to closed fishing seasons. “All Ghanaians who go to Mauritania can testify that the government there doesn’t allow people to fish for one month and the fishermen also make sure they follow the instruction,” he said. Fishermen in those countries, he said, are pleased with their government’s measure and have been serving as watchdog in ensuring compliance by the industry players. Mr. Quansah said he has been engaging fisher folks in the country on the issue and they have suggested May and June of every year to be made the closed fishing season. The proposition of May and June, he explained, is because traditionally, fishermen stay off fishing due to the unfavourable weather conditions during that period. Desist from IUU Mr. Quansah has meanwhile, urged his colleagues to desist from illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing practices to safeguard the fishing industry for generations to come. [caption id="attachment_38166" align="aligncenter" width="566"] File: Some fishers arrested for engaging in light fishing[/caption] He maintained illegal fishing practices like the use of light attract both big and small fish sizes, contribute to the depletion of fish stock. The best fisherman said some fishers have also been using unstandardized net, which is capable of catching small fishes. “It won’t help us, the use of light, carbide, DDT, dynamite and small small net sizes like ‘sika y3 abrantie’ will make us lose our fishes so we should stop,” he advised. By Loveridge Ampratwum Okyere|Connect 97.1FM|3news.com|Ghana]]>