Tema, Jan 31, GNA - The Fisheries Commission of Ghana and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture have been urged to extend the season closure for fishing to artisan fishing.
Mr Richster Nii Armah Amarfio, a Fisheries Advocate, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said until the season closure was extended to artisan fishing which accounts for about 64 per cent of the country’s fishing, the purpose of the closure would not be met.
Mr Amarfio noted that in November, 2015, there was a season closure on trawlers with a second closure expected from February 01 to March 31, this year.
He noted that trawlers only form 18 per cent of the country’s fishing activities therefore having a season closure for them alone was not a good conservative measure to manage the fishing stock of Ghana.
He explained that whereas trawlers had licenses to do bottom trawling which target species such as demoiselles, red snappers, and their likes, artisan fishermen could fish for any species and do not even need license to operate.
According him, a research in Ghana’s water by the Dr. Nansen Norwegian Research Vessel indicated clearly that the country had not overfished its demoiselles stock and that there was an appreciable stock level of carringes, horse mackerel and its family which he said are mid-water fishes.
Mr Amarfio, who is also a fisherman, added however that the research noted that sardinellas stock were heavily threatened therefore the need for a season closure for that stock which is mostly fished by artisan fishers.
He questioned what the benefit would be for the country if the closing season was for trawlers alone while the over 12,000 canoes have the freedom to fish all year round for the affected species.
He added that it was unfortunate that whereas in Gambia, fishermen were not allowed to fish some metres from the shoreline because that is where the fishes deliver their offspring, in Ghana artisan fishermen could fish anywhere with any net size leading to the fishing of juvenile fishes.
Mr Amarfio suggested that an introduction of a quota fishing system and abolishment of the open access could help solve the problem.
The fisheries advocate also called for a scientific approach including the weighing of efforts against stock levels and how much effort was needed to ensure sustainable fishing.
He stressed that without these measures, enforcing a close season for only eight per cent of the fishing sector would not yield the needed result.