Members of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council on Thursday expressed divided opinions over the upcoming closed season for artisanal fishing scheduled for May 15 to June 15.
While some have accepted to abide by the May 15 to June 15 2019, others say the July 1 to 31, was the best period that had been scientifically proven by experts in the country.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra, Nii Abeo Kyerekuandah IV, the Executive Secretary of the Council, said extensive scientific research had proven that the May-June closed season would yield only five per cent increment in fish stock.
He, therefore, said July 1 to 31 would the best period since that had been said to produce 20 per cent increment in the fish stock.
He said the Scientific and Technical Working Group, which undertook the research, indicated that from the scientific research analysis, the next best period, apart from August, was July, and therefore the closed season should apply to all fleets of fishing in order to achieve the desired results.
“Indeed, the Scientific indicators showed that any closed season declared and implemented before July would not yield or produce any impact of value and will, therefore, be absolutely useless, so to do,” Nii Kyerekuandah said.
“In July, the impact would be 20 per cent or more, which is obviously significant and valuable than the five per cent or less to be achieved in May and June.”
“Also, having been made aware of the critical situation with regard to the level of depletion of the fish stocks, especially the small pelagics, the fishermen’s obvious choice, therefore, is July 1 to July 31, 2019, which is based on the ‘best scientific evidence available’ and not May 15 to June 15, which has no scientific basis.”
However, majority of the fishermen, mostly, the Jamestown fishermen, who attended the conference, disagreed with the July date and said they rather supported the May/June closed season, which would help them tor escape the rains and stormy weather experienced around that period.
That, they said, often affected their work as the storms destroyed their fishing gears and nets.
Mr Isaac Armah, a fisherman from Jamestown, who spoke to the Ghana News Agency on behalf of his colleagues, said; “We strongly support the May-June closed season because we think that will help us”.
He said most of them participated in the stakeholders’ consultation held by the sector Minister, where they were made to understand that the May-June period was the best under the circumstances.
Nii Otukonor, also known as Timi, a fisherman from Jamestown, said: “We the Jamestown fishermen and the Chorkor fishermen firmly support what the Minister of Fisheries has announced and we want to go with it because we believe it will help replenish the depleting fish stock.”
“We know it will be a gradual restocking as the years go by, but we like it as such,” Timi said, adding that they would also have more fish to celebrate their Homowo Festival, marked around August.
Torgbui Emannuel Hnomoo Tettey, the Chief Fisherman, Sallah-Korpe in Southern Volta, and Kwashievi Sorsorkpleoo of Agavedzi in the Volta Region, on their part, called for the review of the May-June closed season and said they would accept the date that would help them get more fish.