Let’s support ban on fishing

BY: Daily Graphic
Let’s support ban on fishing
Let’s support ban on fishing

Traditional societies have used their customs, practices, values and norms to preserve their resources to ensure the continuous availability of those resources.

In Ghana, traditional societies have certain days designated as holy days on which citizens are required to rest from activities such as farming, fishing and hunting.

In some communities, people are banned from entering certain streams and rivers. This allows for the self-replenishment of the water bodies to ensure their sustainability.

Unfortunately, modern societies have abandoned these progressive traditional practices, the result being the filthy environment, polluted water bodies, among others, that we see all around us, with the attendant outbreak of preventable diseases and needless increase in our health bill.

One of the oldest practices that is still adhered to, nonetheless, is the prohibition from fishing along the coasts on Tuesdays. This is a way of ensuring that fishes and other forms of marine life are protected, secured and conserved through their replenishment.

But the Tuesday prohibition has not been enough to ensure the growth of fish stocks that can feed the population.

Fortunately, unlike other resources that are irreplaceable, fish can be restocked if the necessary measures are put in place. It is in line with this that the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, in keeping with Ghana’s Fisheries Management Plan to reduce excessive pressure and over-exploitation of fish stocks in our waters, has placed a one-month ban on fishing in the country’s waters.

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Not surprisingly, the announcement of the ban was greeted with mixed reactions, with a section of fisher groups registering their opposition and another expressing support for it.

The Daily Graphic shares in the concern of those who are pleading with the government to lift the ban and impose it next year. But we want to plead with them to accept the decision, since it is not in the interest of only the entire country but also principally people who are engaged in the fisheries sector, including the numerous fishermen and fishmongers, as our refusal to adhere to measures that will ensure conservation will lead to shortage of food that will affect the living standards of the people.

Certainly, we need to guard against over fishing to levels that cannot sustain viable populations, as over-exploitation can lead to resource depletion and put many fish species at risk of extinction.

Having said this, the Daily Graphic is of the view that next year the fisher folk should be sensitised adequately to the ban prior to its implementation. We think it will be appropriate to get the buy-in of the various fishermen associations and fishmonger groups.

This will allow them to own the policy and put in place interventions that will help them cater for themselves during the one-month ban. We have not lost sight of the fact that some of these fisher folk live from hand to mouth.

We suggest that the ministry should work hand in hand with our fisher folk immediately the ban is lifted and encourage them to do some savings that can sustain them during the period of the ban.

The ministry should also consider suggestions of creating alternative sources of livelihood for them, so that the effects of the ban will be as minimal as possible.

For now, we can only ask our fishermen and fishmongers to help the ban succeed for the good of all.