Mavis Hawa Koomson (right), Minister, Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, speaking at the stakeholders' engagement on the close season in the Greater Accra Region
Mavis Hawa Koomson (right), Minister, Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, speaking at the stakeholders' engagement on the close season in the Greater Accra Region
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Fisheries Ministry to support women in fishing communities

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) is to support young women in fishing communities with sewing machines, hairdressing tools and other items during the annual close fishing season this year.

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It said the items formed part of an alternative livelihood support for affected fishermen and fishmongers during the period. The ministry said it was also an addition to a Feed the Future Ghana Fisheries Recovery Activity (GFRA) Livelihood Empowerment Programme that was expected to be extended to 8,000 beneficiaries this year, as against 5,000 beneficiaries in 2023.

The close season, which is scheduled to begin on July 1, to August 31, 2024, aims to replenish the country's depleting fish stock and promote sustainable fishing practices.

At a stakeholders' engagement on the close season in the Greater Accra Region, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD), Mavis Hawa Koomson, urged fishermen not to hoard relief items offered them, but ensure they reach the right beneficiaries. 

The meeting was attended by fishermen, fishmongers, processors and other industry players who discussed implementation of the close season. It was part of a series of engagements being held in all the four regions along the country's coastline to ensure a nationwide approach to fisheries conservation.

Outboard motors

The minister said the government had procured some outboard motors which would be distributed to fishers upon arrival in the country in August this year. She cautioned fishermen to adhere to the close season or risk prosecution, adding that the ministry was reviewing existing laws to ensure penalty for such offences were severe to deter people.

Mrs Koomson emphasised the importance of the close season, saying "it is crucial for the long-term sustainability of our fishery resources and livelihoods of those who depend on them."

She explained that the sea, like a human being, needed rest, however, the increasing number of fishermen and the use of electronic gadgets had affected the viability of the sea water to produce fishes.

The minister also attributed the decline in fish stock to global warming and the increasing number of fishermen and fishing vessels, adding that “our forefathers introduced Tuesdays as fishing holidays, but of late fishermen have not been adhering to it.”

Mrs Koomson, however, observed that the number of trawlers on the nation's sea had reduced from 76 when she assumed office, to 42, following the cessation of trawlers engaged in illegal activities.

On recent challenges of premix fuel availability, she said it was not deliberate and that the government was working to resolve the issue.

Concerns

The Chairman of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council, Joojo Solomon, bemoaned the menace of poor fishing practices by fishermen, including the use of dynamite, as well as light fishing, and urged members to employ safe fishing practices in their work.

Stakeholders at the meeting expressed mixed reactions to the close season, with some expressing concerns about the potential economic impact of their businesses, while others bought into the initiative.

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