May 16, 2019

Closed season: Sekondi fishermen want trawlers banned too

Fishermen at the Busomtwi-Sam Fishing Habour in Sekondi have observed the beginning of the one-month closed fishing season by resorting to fixing their fishing gears instead of fishing.

Though the fishermen are observing the ban which is meant to replenish fish stock, some are questioning why the trawling vessels usually operated by the Chinese nationals are still in operation.

The fishing closed season generally referred to as a ban on fishing has been on the drawing board since 1995.

It is considered as a means to allow replenishing of fish stock.

Successive governments have not been able to implement it due to disagreement over the date for implementation.

However, at the Bosumtwi-Sam fishing Habour in Sekondi, which is noted for brisk fishing business, core fishing activities had come to a halt as fishermen observe the close-season which begun on Wednesday, May 15, 2019.

The spokesman for the Sekondi Chief Fisherman, Papa Afenyi, said they are in agreement with the ban.

“We support the ban because we believe it is good for the fisheries stock in the sea, therefore from Wednesday 15th May, no fishermen will be at sea”.

Though most fishermen at the Albert Bosumtwi-Sam fishing harbour in Sekondi are in support of the close season, Abeiku wants the ban to be on all types of fishing.

“We have agreed to the one month break but they have to also break the Chinese trawler operators at the same time as us. We have heard that the trawler fishermen would be working during the closed-season, but I think there should have been an agreement to break all of us at the same time. We have agreed to the ban but we should all break at the same time. However, these trawlers also sweep the same fish species we catch”.

Fanny Duncan, a market woman at the fishing harbour told Citi News she is worried about the impact of the one-month ban on their businesses and lives.

“It is really going to worry me because this is the only work I do to take care of my children, so right now that I have to go home, I don’t know what I’m going to do. More so, is that fact that I have taken a loan for my work, so I don’t know how I can pay for the loan. It is truly a worry.”

The Western Regional Director of Fisheries, Godfrey Baidoo Tsibu responding to their concerns told Citi News the choice of time for the close season was by the same fishermen although they would have wished all went at the same time.

“The concerns by the artisanal fishermen about the trawler fishermen is true, but when you are determining the period for close-season, there is a basis. You can do it according to fleet or according to the species of fish. We actually wanted it together, except that the fishermen themselves gave us a date that is a little bit away from August when the trawlers would also have their break. That is why this years’ close season is like that”.

The Fisheries Commission, however, believe that if illegal fishing activities are stopped by fishermen, the close-season might not even be necessary.


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