Ban on artisanal, inshore fishing lifted
Artisanal and inshore fleets are free to set sail for fishing after the lifting of the month-long fishing ban in Ghana’s marine waters.

Date Created : 8/2/2023 12:00:00 AM : Story Author : Ewoenam Kpodo/

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) and the Fisheries Commission, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), held a ceremony at Adina in Ketu South, to symbolically unlock the sea to mark the end of the 2023 fishing closed season for artisanal and inshore fleets.

The MoFAD and the Fisheries Commission implemented the closed fishing season from July 1 to 31, as part of a sustainable fisheries management strategy. Mr Moses Anim, the Deputy Fisheries Minister, in a speech read on behalf of the Minister, Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, appreciated the role of all stakeholders in the implementation of the ban, which was a difficult directive but in the national interest.
“Though closing the sea for one month for artisanal fishers disrupts the economic activities in coastal communities and the source of livelihoods for the inhabitants, we must accept that these are sacrifices we have to make as resource users to sustain the sector for current and future generations,” he said.

Mr Anim warned fishers not to engage in Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing as that would defeat the higher fisher compliance that characterised the 2023 closed season.

A total of 187 fishing communities and 247 landing beaches in Ghana’s four coastal regions observed the closed season, with the overall objective of preserving the fishery resources.
“The Ministry recognises the fact that the desired objective of closed season as a fish stock recovery strategy will be attained when illegal fishing activities such as the use of unauthorised fishing nets, poisonous and toxic chemicals, dynamites and other explosives as well as light fishing are effectively controlled,” he said.

“I take this opportunity to entreat fishers to desist from all forms of illegal fishing activities so that, together, we shall reap the gains.”

Mr Anim said the Ministry would collaborate with enforcement agencies including the Ghana Navy and the Ghana Marine Police to intensify monitoring and surveillance activities while continuing to implement the Ministerial Directive on trawl gear selectivity to minimise the catch of juvenile fish.

This will also tackle excessive bi-catch and dumping in a bid to maximise the gains of the implementation of the closed season. “The Ministry, with the support of the Ghana Fisheries Recovery Activity, is piloting an Electronic Monitoring System in trawl vessels to track operations of vessels at sea as part of efforts to combat IUU fishing,” Mr Anim said.
Ms Kimberly Rosen, the USAID Ghana Mission Director, who assured of the US Government’s commitment to increasing food security in Ghana, including healthy and nutritious marine foods, commended the fishers for supporting the closed season to safeguard the livelihood of the millions of people who relied on the sea.

“…this shared annual sacrifice is really a shared investment. An investment that is already paying off and will continue to pay dividends for generations to come with plentiful, nutritious fish.”

Madam Regina Solomon, the President, National Fish Processors and Traders Association, asked fishermen to put their “illegal things” away and engage in acceptable fishing practices to benefit society.