By: Richard Mensah Adonu
The much discussed ban on fishing, has finally been declared at a press conference yesterday, in Accra.
The declaration as pronounced by the sector minister of fisheries and Aquaculture development, Mrs. Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, is to close season for marine fleets to enable the fishes grow for harvest.
The decision according to the Minister, will aid the ministry to formulate and implement policies and strategies to resolve challenges facing the fishing industry in the country.
The minister narrated that, fishing serves as a source of livelihood to many and as such care must be taken to prevent the fish stock from destruction.
“This is the fish that provides direct or indirect jobs to over 2.5 million people of our countrymen and women. Therefore this is fish for both the present future generations”, she added.
The minister stated that, the crisis of the fishing industry is threatening livelihood, employment, culture and food security of the country.
Mrs. Afoley Quaye, explained that the illegal practices and the number of boats on the country’s water bodies continues to increase and as such catch per unit efforts(rate of catching fish) is dwindling.
“The number of boats on the system continues to increase with over 13,000 canoes in our waters currently while in the year 2000 there were about 6,000 canoes”,the minister disclosed.
According to her, the numerous challenges identified has necessitated the halt on all fishing activities (except Tuna fish ) starting August 07, 2018.
She said, the ban would be observed within a month after which fishermen can return to their activities.
“Closed seasons are the first management measure implemented to ensure stock recovery”, she added.
The sector minister however cautioned the fishermen to comply with the directive or else risk themselves of paying a fine not less than five hundred thousand US dollars.
Meanwhile, some representatives of the fisher folks speaking after the conference, expressed worry over the decision.
According to them, the time for the announcement is not convenient.
They said, the government should have postponed the ban to next year, to enable them prepare and store much fish.
The fishermen, said the directive would affect their business and livelihood.
The ban will be effective from August 7 to September 5.