By Selorm GBORBIDZI, Accra
The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mavis Hawa Koomson, has declared that the closed fishing season for the 2023 fishing season will commence on July 1, this year.
She described the move as a necessary one to save the sector which is being threatened by decline of fish stock, as a result of climate change, plastic pollution, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, excessive fishing pressure and overfishing.
Speaking at the Minister’s press briefing yesterday, she stated that as part of government’s efforts to improve fish stocks in the nation’s waters, artisanal and inshore fishermen will down their tools from July 1 to July 31.
Industrial trawlers on the other hand will take a fishing break from July 1 to August 31.
This is meant to ensure that pressure on fish stocks is reduced and fish colonies are given room to spawn and mature in the closed period.
She also stated that tuna fishers are expected to go on break for 3 months every year.
She indicated that the Ministry, as part of its support towards Fishers in the closed season, distributed some 20,000 bags of 25kg rice and 8,333 cartons of oil to the fisher folk.
The fisher folk were also supported with some 6,000 bundles of wire mesh, 20,000 basins, 1,710 chest freezers and 1,150 subsidised outboard motors.
Hawa Kommsoon also stated that the Ministry, with the support of its partners, has provided alternative livelihood training for the fisher folk.
So far, about 550 fishermen from selected communities have received training in masonry, carpentry, dressmaking, electronics and auto engineering.
According to her, the alternative livelihood programme will eventually be scaled up to cover about 8,000 fisher folk who will ulto9be supported to set up their own practices.
The Minister noted in her presentation that the fishing industry supports the livelihood of over 3 million people, and contributed about 1. 2% of the nation’s GDP in 2022, raking in over $250 million from the export of fisheries products.
She also indicated that the per capita consumption of fish in Ghana is around 22kg, compared to the average of 17kg in the West African sub-region.