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Activities on sea need to be closed for a period to help fish recover – Mavis Hawa Koomson

Activities on sea need to be closed for a period to help fish recover - Mavis Hawa Koomson

Fishers along the coast of Ghana, including inshore fishers have been urged to take the sea as a human being that must be protected and cared for to sustain livelihoods and survival of current and future generations.

Madam Mavis , Minister for Fisheries and Aqua Culture Development said activities on the sea needed to be closed for some time to help recover depleted stock that threatened Ghana's average per capita fish consumption of around 20-25kg, higher than the world average of 13kg.

The Minister said this during an engagement with members of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC) within the Greater Region ahead of the national closed season from July 1 to July 31 for artisanal and inshore fleets and July 1 to August 31 for industrial trawlers.

The engagement also took place in the Western and Central Regions to create room for more dialogue on fisheries issues and ensure maximum collaboration from fishers.
Fish consumption forms 60 per cent of animal protein in Ghanaian diet country wide, and accounts for 22.4 per cent of household food expenditures.

Madam Koomson said global warming, water pollution, including illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing carried out by some recalcitrant fishers had affected marine biodiversity greatly.

“A number of some sea species have gone extinct. Despite several engagements to ensure compliance against IUU fishing and compliance on ‘no Tuesday fishing', some fishermen still go on fishing expeditions,” she noted.

The Minister said: “Government is implementing the closed season to conserve the sea. We should not allow anyone to politicise such interventions because it is about our lives, it is about our livelihoods.”

She said through the Ministry's livelihoods empowerment agenda, some relief foodstuffs, including 27, 000 bags of rice would be distributed to cushion fishers and fishmongers during their one-month stay at home. 

“We are also going to distribute outboard motors to our fishers who own canoes by the close of the first week in August. It will be one canoe for one outboard motor and there are no middlemen,” she assured. 

Mr Joojo Solomon, Chairman, the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC), cautioned his colleagues against the use of dynamite and light fishing, adding that it was the only way to keep them in business.

Nene Raymond Abayateye II, Fisherman and Chair, GNCFC, Greater Accra Region, urged the Minister to ensure that the relief items got to the Council for fair and equal distribution without any interference. 

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