Mavis Hawa Koomson — Minister of Fisheries and Acquaculture Development
Mavis Hawa Koomson — Minister of Fisheries and Acquaculture Development

Don’t politicise fisheries sector — Hawa Koomson

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mavis Hawa Koomson has asked fishers to be wary of politicians who seek to reverse gains made in the sector for political expediency.

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She said in particular that fishers must hold on to the famous close season which was a step in the right direction towards marine stocks recovery. She advised that their socio-economic well-being now and in the future should be paramount to them in deciding who had their interest at heart.

Ms Koomson, who is also the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Awutu Senya East in the Central Region, was speaking to fishers in the Central Region as part of engagements before this year's close fishing season.

Recall

The flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress, (NDC) John Dramani Mahama on Saturday, June 8,this year in an interaction with members of the fishing community selected across the coastal communities in Tema in the Greater Accra Region said the next NDC government will exempt canoe and artisanal fishermen from the close season programme.

Mr Mahama argued that the activities of the canoe and artisanal fishermen groups of fishers did not contribute to dwindling fish stock in the country. The close 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 at curb overfishing, restore overexploited fish stocks, replenish dwindling fish populations and allow fish to lay their eggs to replace lost population.

Interventions

Addressing the fishers, Ms Koomson observed that the fisheries sector had had many interventions aimed at restoring the dangerously low fish stock, adding that the gains made must not be reversed.

She stated that while this year's close season would come on as scheduled, the ministry would work to support fishers and others who would be impacted directly by the close season with food items.

She,however, stressed that the ministry would not countenance the politicisation of the distribution of such support items. Ms Koomson said the government was committed to interventions that would further improve the conditions of the people in the coastal communities and reduce their over-dependence on marine fishery resources.

To this end, she said the ministry had begun the implementation of the aquaculture for food and jobs to get individuals into aquaculture. Also, she stated that apprenticeship programmes would soon begin to train some 8,000 persons from the various coastal communities to empower them to earn decent incomes. 

The Central Regional Minister, Justina Marigold Assan advised the fishers to retain the government to sustain the gains made in the sector. The fishers called for the frequent supply of premix fuel and more efficient systems to check illegalities at the shores.

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