Government is putting in place stringent measures to safeguard the fisheries industry in Ghana, Madam Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, has assured.
Madam Quaye said the industry, which contributed hugely to the food basket of the country, had seen a massive decline due to unsafe practices by some players in the industry which, she promised to check.
The Fisheries Minister was speaking at a meeting with fisher folks at Keta on the closed season period scheduled to commence from 7th August to 4th September.
Madam Quaye said the closed fishing season was being observed to restock the country's dwindling fisheries resources, adding that although the month of August had been touted as the bumper season, the same period was noted to be the perfect high food production season for fish to feed and spawn.
She gave assurance that government would continue to take initiatives in the best interest of the citizenry and, therefore, urged the fisher folks not see the exercise as intended to destroy their livelihood.
The Minister said measures had been put in place to sustain the livelihood of the fisher folks during the period
These measures, she said, included the collection and processing of plastic waste to generate income and help keep the water bodies clean.
She cautioned fishing communities to comply with the ban, adding that the Naval Command of the Ghana Navy had been tasked to intensify patrol at the country's borders particularly during the season to ward off trawlers which would defy the directive.
In his remarks, Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, Volta Regional Minister, noted that the observance of closed seasons in countries such as Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal and Madagascar yielded good results and was optimistic that Ghana would not be an exception.
The closed fishing season which has the objective of reducing excessive pressure on and the over exploitation of fish stocks in Ghana's marine waters, forms part of strategies outlined in the Fisheries Management Plan of Ghana to sustainably manage Ghana's marine fisheries resources.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Fisheries Commission had already implemented a two month closed season between January and March this year.
Source: ISD (Yvonne Elikplim Harlley-Kanyi)