The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Hon. Mavis Hawa Koomson has announced the 2023 Closed season for fishermen disclosing that the inshore and canoe fishermen will observe theirs from 1st -31st July 2023 whilst the Industrial Trawlers will observe their closed season from 1st July-31st August 2023.
Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Hon. Mavis Hawa Koomson speaking to the media after the meeting
The Minister whose speech was read on her behalf by the Deputy Minister Hon. Moses Anim announced this in Accra on Thursday during a Stakeholders meeting to discuss the closed season.
Deputy Minister for Fisheries, Hon. Moses Anim reading the Speech on behalf of the Minister
According to the Minister, the fishery resources have been the economic backbone of the many fishing communities in this country for centuries, especially artisanal fishers and fish processors.
He explained that it is therefore important that, we manage our fisheries sustainably to promote the wellbeing of these communities hence the closed season.
He explained further that the implementation of the Closed Season, is part of the series of strategies to recover fish stock and ensure sustainable management of the fisheries resources.
“As we are all aware, the fisheries sector is threatened by depletion or decline of fish stocks as shown by low catches confirmed by fishers in recent surveys. This decline in catches is as a result of climate change, Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, excessive fishing capacity and overfishing among other factors.
We have all come to accept that, there is the need to continue the Closed Season within the same period of July and August as implemented in 2021 and 2022, since it is the period of the upwelling. Upwelling is the best period for spawning”, the Minister stressed.
He later revealed that the Ministry during the 2022 Closed Season distributed 20,000 bags of rice and 8,333 oil to totally support fishers during the closure adding that the relief items are not sufficient to whole support the fishers during the one (1) month Closed Season.
A Cross section of stakeholders at the meeting
He also assured Stakeholders present that the alternative livelihood training support for fishers which was launched and starting with five hundred and fifty (550) fishers in masonry, carpentry, dressmaking, hairdressing, electronics and auto engineering etc in selected Communities along the coast will continue.
He added that the training would be scaled up to cover 8,000 fishers aged from 18 to 35 years maintaining that after the training, trainees would be supported to set up to ensure that they can earn incomes from their trade.
He therefore appealed to Fisher-folks across the country to support the closed season.
On his part, a Deputy Director of Fisheries in charge of Fisheries Scientific Survey Division,(FSSD) Mr. Emmanuel Kwame Dovlo, giving a presentation on the findings of research into the closed season said the research revealed that July/ August is the best for closed season based on scientific research by the FSSD.
He explained that it is the period where the fish maximizes its recruitment potential during annual peak spawning period before fishermen can harvest them.
According to Mr. Dovlo, the long-term goal of the closure is focused on increasing the biomass and yield of small pelagic and demersal species to improve the benefits of the fisheries resource for the livelihood and food security adding that the closure generally improves food income and balanced diet within the fishing households.
He however maintained that the seasonal closure must be accompanied by social Protection for the fishing communities and training for livelihood alternatives.