A cross-section of fishermen in parts of the Central Region have called on the government to institute effective support mechanism for fishermen during the ‘Closed Season’ to support their livelihoods.
They said since the intervention was introduced by government, not much attention had been paid to how those affected would survive during the period.
The situation, they claimed would affect their ability to pay for their loans, cater for their families and create a vicious cycle of poverty among fishermen.
The fishermen expressed these concerns in separate interviews with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the impact of the ‘Closed Season’ at Elmina, Moree and Cape Coast on Wednesday.
The GNA noticed that the directives on the ban on fishing for inshore and artisanal fishers had been fully complied with by the fishing communities visited, and the usual hustle and buzzle at the seashore was absent.
The beach appeared a pale shadow of itself with many of the fishers sitting idle, others repairing their canoes and nets to put them in good shape, while some were packing their fishing gears for safekeeping.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development in collaboration with the Fisheries Commission imposed the 2021 ‘Closed Season’ starting from Thursday, July 1 to Tuesday, August 31.
The closed season is a strategy to reduce excessive pressure and over-exploitation of stocks in the marine subsector and to rebuild the depleted marine fish stocks.
Mr Kwesi Smith, a fisherman at Elmina, said payments for his loan, done on weekly basis, would be difficult due to the closed season.
“I have taken a loan and would have to make payment every week but with the closed season, how do I pay back?” he lamented.
Mr Kofi Andoh, a fisherman in Cape Coast, also prayed the government to check the activities of trawlers and the illegal transhipment at sea, popularly called Saiko to save their livelihoods from collapse.
He said the activities of pair trawlers, foreign vessels and IUU fishing practices had deteriorated the fisheries resources and queried why proactive measures were not sanctioned to halt such illegalities to save the marine fishes from further depletion.
He maintained that they would conduct themselves within the dictates of the directives to ensure its success, but implored the government to appreciate the importance of streamlining efforts that would effectively curtail the illegal activities of pair trawlers and foreign vessels as well as IUU fishing practices after the closed season.
Other fishermen expressed concern about low engagement in the fisheries sector as only leaders in their communities were involved in the planning and called on the government to involve fisherfolks when planning another closed season to get them prepared.