The 2023 Fishing Closed Season is set to begin from July 1 to August 31, 2023.
The artisanal and inshore fleets are to observe the closed season from July 1 to July 31, 2023, whilst that of industrial trawl vessels takes effect from July 1 to August 31, 2023.
The Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs. Mavis Hawa Koomson who announced this on Wednesday in Accra noted that consultation with all stakeholders in the fishery industry was done before the announcement.
According to her, the Ministry implemented the Closed Fishing Season as a stock recovery strategy based on scientific recommendations.
The closed season was implemented, she explained, to reduce overfishing and high fishing pressure; recover overexploited fish stocks, rebuild depleted fish stocks and replenish dwindling fish stocks.
She stated that from 2016 to 2022, the closed fishing season was in effect, with the exception of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mrs. Koomson indicated that during the 2022 Closed Season, the Ministry distributed 20,000 25kg bags of rice and 8,333 cartons of cooking oil to support fishers in order to mitigate the impact of the Closed Season on fishers and processors.
“The Ministry also supported fishers with 6,000 bundles of wire mesh, 20,000 basins, 1,710 chest Freezers and 1,150 subsidized outboard motors,” she added.
The Minister further disclosed that the Ministry and its partners, including the Ghana Fisheries Recovery Activity had launched alternative livelihood training support for fishers starting with 550 fishers in masonry, carpentry, dressmaking, hairdressing, electronics and auto engineering, among other things, in selected communities along the coast.
“This training would be scaled up to cover 8,000 fishers and after the training, trainees would be supported to set up to ensure that they can earn incomes from their trade,” she noted.
On measures to combat illegal fishing, she stated that the deployment of an Electronic Monitoring System equipped with a video recorder, a camera, and a Global Positioning System would be fixed on three pilot trawl vessels to record fishing activities at sea 24/7.
“Also, there would be an implementation of Ministerial Directives on trawl gear specifications to reduce the catch of juvenile fishes and bycatches, as well as Directives requiring trawl vessels to stay at sea for no more than 30 days for any fishing expedition,” she added.
The Minister stated that Cote d’Ivoire would implement its 2023 Closed Fishing Season during the same time frame as Ghana, and that Togo, Benin, and Liberia are expected to join next year.
Patience Anaadem, ISD