Embracing closed fishing season necessary for marine stock

The 2024 closed fishing season will be observed from July 1 to July 31 for artisanal and inshore vessels, and from July 1 to August 31 for industrial trawlers.


Fish constitutes a substantial portion of or diet, and is, therefore, essential for from meeting a greater proportion of our protein requirements. However, illegal fishing, climate change and other human activities continue to pose a threat to the nation’s fish stock.

It has, therefore, become necessary to introduce measures to ensure the long-term conservation of our marine stock. One of such measures is the closed fishing season introduced in 2016.

As the dates for the closed fishing season draw nearer, it is essential to acknowledge the significance of this measure in ensuring the sustainability of our marine resources. The annual closure of the fishing season, which prohibits fishing activities for a specific period, is a crucial step towards safeguarding the future of our fisheries.

The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mavis Hawa Koomson, announcing the dates for this year’s closed fishing season, emphasised that the season was crucial for replenishing Ghana's depleting fish stock, and that it would benefit both the state and the fisherfolk by providing a sustainable ocean for them.

The closed season serves several purposes. First, it allows fish stock to replenish and regenerate, thereby preventing overfishing and depletion of our marine resources. This is particularly important for species that are vulnerable to overfishing, such as tilapia and sardines.

By giving them a chance to breed and multiply, we can ensure their continued availability for future generations. Second, the closed season enables fishers to maintain their gear and vessels, reducing the likelihood of accidents and improving the overall safety of fishing operations.

This break also provides an opportunity for fishers to engage in alternative income-generating activities, thereby diversifying their livelihoods and reducing the dependence on a single source of income.

Third, the closed season facilitates research and monitoring of fish populations, enabling scientists to assess the health of our marine ecosystems and inform evidence-based management decisions.

The Daily Graphic is of the view that research and knowledge are critical for developing effective conservation strategies and ensuring the long-term sustainability of our fisheries.

This is why we believe that there is the need for the government to speed up processes to acquire an enhanced fishing research vessel for fisheries management, which has been on the sector ministry’s list of needs for years.

Fishers have, on countless occasions, called for alternative livelihoods support to be extended to them since the closed season has a lot of implications on them, including loss of income.

Even though the ministry supplies some free food items to some fishers, which they appreciate, the one-off support is not enough. This, therefore, makes it necessary to increase support for affected fishers and provide them with alternative means of livelihoods.

While the closed season may pose temporary challenges for fishers and traders, its benefits far outweigh the costs. The Daily Graphic, therefore, calls on the ministry to strengthen its enforcement through proper engagement of the industry stakeholders to ensure voluntary compliance, while they all work together to address the sector’s challenges.

By supporting the closed fishing season measure, we are investing in the future of our fisheries and the livelihoods of those who depend on them. Let us embrace the closed fishing season as a necessary step towards responsible and sustainable fishing practices.

Together, we can ensure the long-term health of our marine resources and the prosperity of our fisherfolk.

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