Fishermen call for livelihood support – As closed fishing season begins
Ms. Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development
Fishermen called for structured alternative support systems to mitigate the likely impact of the closure of the fishery on their livelihoods.
Such support systems, they noted, would also reduce their over-reliance on the sea.
They therefore called on the government to put in place stricter measures to control the activities of trawlers and illegal transshipment at sea, commonly known as Saiko.
They observed that the government had failed over the years to deal decisively with Saiko, allowing them to fish in artisanal waters and wreaking havoc on fishing stocks.
This year’s closed fishing season is effective today through July 31 for canoe and inshore fishermen, and August 1 through August 31 for industrial trawlers.
Responding to the start of the closed season, some fishermen and fishmongers along the Cape Coast coasts have called for more calculated efforts and support to keep fishermen economically healthy and provide them with alternative sources of income.
They said that although the intervention was introduced in 2019, little attention had been paid to how those affected would survive during the period.
“Fishing is what we do and now that we are asked to stay away for the period, what do we do? In 2019 when it was first introduced we went through some hardships but no one said much about how to provide support to cushion us, ”said Kobina Kakraba, a fisherman.
Yesterday in Keta, in the Volta region, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Ms. Hawa Koomson, held a symbolic closure of the fishing season.
With a huge key, Ms Koomson – supported by several dignitaries – pointed out the sea and locked it in a symbolic closure of the fishing season for the next two months.
The ceremony took place in the presence of the Awoamefia of Anlo State, Togbui Sri III; the Acting National President of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen’s Council, Nana Joojo Solomon and some of the regional council chairs.
The closure of the season is a strategy to reduce excessive pressure and overexploitation of stocks in the marine subsector and to rebuild depleted marine fish stocks.
Togbui Sri said it was a national mission that required maximum support from stakeholders to make it successful and called on the government to speed up the issues regarding the establishment of a port and port. a landing site in Keta to allow projects to start.
Nana Solomon called on fishermen to respect the ban and only use approved methods for their fishing activities.
Most fishermen expressed concerns about incurring financial costs during the period and stressed the need to provide alternative support during the period.
Papa Kwame, a fisherman, said some of them had taken out loans to support their business and therefore found the season’s closure a failure.
“We have families to take care of and this is a very worrying situation for us. The fishermen are numerous and the impact of the season on so many people for a month is enormous,” he said.