The Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council is urging all artisanal fishermen to comply with the government’s planned closed season this year.
According to the council, a public awareness campaign has begun to encourage fishermen to refrain from embarking on fishing expeditions during the period.
This comes after the fisheries ministry said that this year’s exercise will take place between July and August.
The closed season will be observed by canoe and inshore fishermen between July 1 and 31, and by commercial trawlers between July 1 and August 31.
Speaking to Citi News, Nana Jojo Solomon, Acting President of the Council, urged government to make the date of the exercise public so that fishermen could appropriately prepare.
“This is going to be the fourth time, but I still find a few people trying to accept it. We believe that there will be a time when there will be no pushback but absolute compliance. So, we are still educating fisherfolk. The law says that ample time should be given to fishermen. This will help the fishermen save towards it.
The Council has expressed concerns that activities of some artisanal and canoe fishermen contribute to the issue of dwindling fish stock hence close season exercise should include every fishing group in the industry.
This comes on the back of former President John Dramani Mahama’s promise that if he wins power, canoe and artisanal fishermen will be exempted from the closed-season exercise.
Mr. Mahama says the closed season will be for only trawlers but the Council disagrees.
“We have been walked through a lot of scientific reasons why we should manage the stocks and as artisanal fishermen, we have all concluded that we must indeed comply. I’m surprised that this is coming up because whatever it is, it’s adding to the recovery of the stocks. We cannot blame the industrial trawlers alone because whatever it is we are also part of it.”
Closed season otherwise known as the “biological rest period,” is the stopping of fishing activities during the spawning period of the stocks.
Closed seasons are observed as a way of reducing fishing pressure on stocks when they are most productive in terms of allowing the fish a chance to lay their eggs to replace the lost population due to fishing and other natural causes.