The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mrs. Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, has informed Parliament that the Ministry has put in measures to declare the Closed Season in the fisheries sector.
Mrs. Afoley Quaye stated that the Ministry’s intention to implement an annual closure season for all fleet, including artisanal fisheries, will start from August, 7 to September, 4 this year.
The Minister who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Krowor indicated that the objective for the closure is to replenish the declining marine fish stock and prevent any negative effects in the subsequent years.
Mrs. Afoley Quaye explained that the justification for implementing the Closed Season in August for all fleet is to ensure abundance of plankton for adult and juvenile fish in August, which enhances survival and viability of juvenile fishes.
In her statement, she again added that the annual peak for reproduction of majority of pelagics is August according to a research conducted by a foreign institution.
Mrs. Afoley Quaye again justified that the small pelagic stock are currently categorised as overfished and nearing collapse based on recent stock assessment.
In her explanation, she reiterated that if the closure is limited to a selected number of fleet and gear types, the incidence of high by-catch may not be avoided and therefore defeat the purpose of the closure.
“The closure is to ensure sustainable fish, food and nutrition security as well as guarantee income and livelihoods of fishers. The closure is also to prevent the huge security crisis that will arise if the artisanal fishing sector collapses”, she explained.
On mitigation measures, Mrs. Afoley Quaye told the house that the Landing Beach Committees (LBCs) are to use some fixed portions of 56 percent of the premix fuel margins meant for development to all fishers identified within their LBCs.
She concluded that without immediate action by the government, small pelagic stock could be in extinction as early as three to five months.
“The Closed Season for August, 2018 is in the interest of Ghanaian fishers, particularly the artisanal fishermen who are experiencing low catches in recent times”, she concluded.