ACTIVITIES of industrial fishing trawlers in the country's waters are to be suspended for one month, beginning Thursday August 1, 2019, in line with this year's closed season for trawling activities.
The trawlers are to remain in their designated ports and anchorages in the country, except those that have valid licences from third party countries and have chosen to fish in those countries during the period. The Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and Member of Parliament for Ekumfi in the Central Region, Francis Kingsley Ato Cudjoe, announced these at a press conference in Accra yesterday.
He said the moratorium was a strategic measure under the National Marine Fisheries Management Plan (2015-2019) prepared in accordance with Section 42 of the Fisheries Act (Act625) to aid the fish stock to replenish. The fourth in the series of closed
seasons for industrial trawlers comes two months after the artisanal fishermen took their turn from May 15 to June 15, for the first time, this year. According to Mr Cudjoe, all trawlers in third party countries were to have an observer from the Monitoring Control and Surveillance Division of the Ministry and should comply with the fisheries regulations of both Ghana and their host countries.
"All industrial vessels should jeep their Electronic Monitoring Systems operational during the closed season; this includes those which will be berthed in the port and anchorages. All fish caught legally in foreign waters shall be landed in Ghana", he said. Mr Cudjoe said the announce- ment was preceded by several con- sultations between the ministry, the commission and other stakeholders including owners and operators of the industrial trawlers.
In view of this, he said full compliance was expected as had been the case over the four years the season has been observed, because all 75 trawlers working in the country's waters were being monitored electronically.
The Executive Director of the Fisheries Commission, Michael Arthur-Dadzie, said should they flout the closed season directive, they could be slapped with sanctions including withdrawal of their licences. On the impact of the artisanal closed season, he said scientific data collectors engaged to determine the impact and other factors would conclude their work in November following which the actual impact would be known.
Ahead of the release of the report, he said gradual improvement instead of bumper harvest was the expectation after the maiden closed season because the depletion done over the years would take time to be corrected. He called for collaboration from all stakeholders in the implementation of various measures by the ministry and the commission to sustain the fisheries sector.