Fishing closed season improves fish stock, food income – Survey

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Fishing

The 2022 Fishing closed season improved fish stock, food income, and balanced diet within the fishing households, a study on the impact of last year’s edition of the annual closed season has found.

The study found that landings of the small pelagic species, Round sardinella and Anchovy, were higher after the closed season.

The findings of the study were disseminated at a workshop in Accra.
Data gathered as part of the study showed that prior to the closed season, catch of Round sardinella moved from an average 239.9 kilogramme per trip to 287.2 kg per trip. The average catch for Anchovy also moved from 269.3kg per trip (before the season) to 400.3kg per trip (after the season).

The 2022 closed season was implemented between July and August last year – a policy implemented by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to reduce fishing pressure on stocks to increase fish population.

Presenting the findings of the survey, Mr Emmanuel Dovlo, the Director of Fisheries Survey Scientific Division of the Fisheries Commission, said the mean length of the species exploited within the upwelling season were beyond the length at first maturity and the minimum allowable landing size.

“The closed season in July ensured that the species spawned, majority of fish harvested in August and September were matured and less were immature, allowing the immature to be recruited into the fisheries in the succeeding spawning seasons,” he said.

The study recommended that the seasonal closure should be accompanied by social protection for the fishing communities such as training the youth during the closed season.

It suggested that the youth could be trained on factory work, masonry, carpentry and farming petty trading, dressmaking, food vending, hairdressing, soap making and bakery among other activities to support their livelihoods.

Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, announced that the 2023 Closed Season for Canoe and Inshore Fishers would observe the closed season from 1st – 31st July 2023.

The Industrial Trawlers would also observe the closed season from 1st July to 31st August 2023.

She said studies had also shown that most fishers rely on fishing as the main source of their livelihood and therefore, any adverse effect on fishing could affect livelihoods among fishing communities.

Therefore, she said the government working with the Ghana Fisheries Recovery Activity had launched the alternative livelihood training support for fishers starting with five hundred and fifty (550) fishers in vocation including masonry, carpentry, dressmaking and hairdressing.

The training, she said would be scaled up to cover 8,000 fishers aged from 18 to 35years.

Mrs Koomson said after the training, trainees would be supported to set up to ensure that they earned incomes from their trade.

Prof Francis Nunoo, Board Chairman of the Fisheries Commission, said the benefits of the closed season would be reaped after years of effective implementation.

“The assessment after last year’s implementation has shown that there had been an improvement in fish catch. If we do it over the years, we will see the change. Following the 2022 fishing closed season we are seeing that the sizes of the fish have improved, and the harvested fishes had also laid eggs before they were caught,” he said.

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