Oyster harvesters hail result of observing “Closed Season” – say it leads to increased, bigger oyster
For a local community group that deals in oyster picking in the Densu Estuary in the Ga South Municipality in the Greater Accra Region, their resolve to ensure sustainable management of the resource they largely depend on for their livelihood has compelled them to put into practice knowledge acquired about the resource.
Date Created : 6/23/2018 12:23:21 PM : Story Author : Dominic Shirimori/Ghanadistricts.com
The Oyster Pickers Association in Bortianor have been known to be one of the first community groups to have committed themselves to taking full control of managing their resources and thus declared five months “closed season” in its oyster growing areas.
The community, particularly women have engaged in oyster harvesting for ages and the oyster business has been one of their main livelihoods. However in recent times, the business has been threatened by dwindling stocks of the oyster because of some illegal practices including over harvesting due to increased number of pickers as well as all year- round harvesting.
However, thanks to USAID through its Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) and the Development Action Association, the local implementing partner for the project, members of the Oyster Pickers Association in and around Bortianor have had the privilege to have been educated on the basic science of oyster habitats and production. These include knowledge on water quality, salinity, acidity and turbidity, growth and spawning cycles of oysters among others.
These understandings of the oyster production motivated the association to adopt standard operating procedures including instituting a “closed season” based on scientific data. This period allows the oyster to spawn and grow bigger.
The result members of the association noted has been phenomenon as the open season which started from March this year saw significant improvement in the harvest as well as larger size oysters. Thus, there is a reversal of the dwindling fortunes of oyster in the area. The ultimate result therefore has been that they were able to sell their oyster at higher prices.
Patience, one of the members of the Association told journalist during a site visit to Keleto, one of the harvesting areas that members have resolved to make the “Closed Season” an annual practice to boost the fortune of their business since that is the only way to sustain their livelihood.