Leadership of the fishing communities presenting a citation to John Mahama
Leadership of the fishing communities presenting a citation to John Mahama

NDC to exempt artisanal fishers from close season — Mahama

The flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress, (NDC) John Dramani Mahama, has indicated that his government, when elected, will exempt canoe and artisanal fishermen from the close season programme. 


The closed season, which is implemented annually for artisanal and inshore fleets, is a fisheries management procedure designed to protect fish stocks and increase their population.

The policy was aimed to curb overfishing, restore overexploited fish stocks, replenish dwindling fish populations and allow fish to lay their eggs to replace lost population. Former President Mahama, however, indicated that the activities of the canoe and artisanal fishermen groups of fishers, did not contribute to dwindling fish stock in the country.

Interacting with the members of the fishing community selected across the coastal communities last Saturday in Tema, Mr Mahama said the closed season would be for only trawlers and other huge vessels.

He said his administration would reorganise the Landing Beach Committees (LBCs) to empower the fishermen to address the current irregularities and disparity in the distribution of premix fuel and other fishing gear, including nets and outboard motors at the landing beaches.

He said the reconstituted LBCs would be made up of representatives of the various stakeholders in the fishing industry and not persons affiliated to political parties and intermediaries who resold the subsidised premix fuel and outboard at higher prices to fishermen. “We must eschew politics from the fishing industry.” he said.

Former President Mahama said his administration would also resource the Ghana Navy with patrol vessels to monitor trawlers and other bigger vessels within Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of the sea to ensure compliance.


Responding to concerns about plastics and pollution at the shores, Mr Mahama said his administration would engage young people in fishing communities along the coast to address issues of waste management along the shores that negatively impacted fisheries and destroyed the health of the ocean.

He said the National Women’s Bank envisioned in his campaign would extend support to fish processors through loans to be advanced to the various organised women trade associations in the fishing sector to support their business.

The Chairman of the Canoe and Fishing Gear Owners Association of Ghana, Nana Kweigya, implored the government to try other innovative means to address the depleting fish stocks in Ghana.

He said climate change was causing fish to move from shallow waters to much deeper waters; hence artisanal fishers were compelled to move far away to assess fisheries resources. 
Nana Kweigya said it was necessary for the government to consider extending the inshore EEZ for artisanal fishers to cope with competition from industrial fishers as far as access to fisheries resources was concerned.

He also expressed concern about safety of artisanal fishers at sea and called on Mr Mahama and any future government he leads to collaborate with stakeholders to come up with a comprehensive intervention that would guaranted the safety of fishers at sea.

Nana Kweigya said Canoe and Fishing Gear Owners Association were also ready to collaborate with the government to develop a well thought out insurance and social security scheme to take care of artisanal fishers in their old age or incapacitation. 


He said to fishing inputs such as premix fuel, fishing nets and outboard motors had become expensive and unavailable, stressing that Canoe and Fishing Gear Owners Association were ready to work with a future government that would work out an efficient credit system to ensure fishing inputs were not only made available but also sold at a cheaper price with a flexible payment system instituted to help artisanal fishers contribute to national development.

The Vice-Chairman of the National Fisheries Association, Richter Niki Arman Amaroid, said following the threat of dwindling fish stock in Ghana, the country must take a bold step to acquire a research vessel to enhance data collection for policy directives and promote an effective marine fisheries management.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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