The Minister for Fisheries and Aqua Culture, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, has assured the fishing community and all stakeholders that the Closed Door Season introduced by the Ministry is intended to save the dying fishing industry.
She indicated that a number of researches done by the Ministry and other stakeholder-institutions indicate that the fish stock of the country has reduced drastically, and keeps on reducing at an uncontrollable rate.
She said the same research shows that the industry would come to a halt if measures are not put in place to curb the phenomenon.
Consequently, the Ministry had to take the bold step within best international practices to help save the situation.
She revealed that the Closed Door Season seeks to cease all fishing activities across the country within that period. At this point, no fishing activity of any type is allowed in Ghana’s waters until the end of the period.
The Minister was on the floor of the House on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, to brief Members on the step Government had taken to safeguard the fishing industry.
The closed door period for this year, according to her, starts on Tuesday August 7th 2018, and ends on Tuesday September 4th, 2018. She added that active fishing can start from Wednesday September 5th, 2018.
She added that the objective of the policy was to replenish the declining marine fish stock of the country, and also to ensure sustainability of the industry.
She added that based on recent studies, the annual peak of reproduction for most of the spices is from August.
She also revealed that it is around this time that the sea produces abundant food for both young and adult fishes, hence, guaranteeing the reproduction and preservation of the fish stock for the country.
She added that the fishing community has also confirmed this, and additionally complained of the low in quality of fishes around that period.
According to them, the fish stock is of low quality due to the presence of eggs in the fishes around this period, she added.
She also added that economically, the fishing community loses around this period due to low prices as a result of abundant supply.
Addressing the concerns of stakeholders that the closure should have been limited to certain categories of vessels such as the large ones, she said the purpose for the closure would be defeated in that case, since large harvesting of fish around that period would still deplete the reproductive stock.
The former Mayor of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and current Member of Parliament for Ablekuma South, Alfred Oko Vanderpuye, however, complained that the people of Greater Accra tend to suffer more with the policy, since they mainly engage in fishing activities.
He, therefore, called on the Minster to reconsider the move, since, according to him, it had serious economic implications.