In compliance with the close season directive for inshore and artisanal fishers, fishermen in Elmina have started removing their fishing gears from the shore.
The directive which came into force on Wednesday, May 15 when the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture performed a symbolic ceremony to close the sea with a padlock at the Winneba Beach.
Fishing trawlers and the big boats will have their turn from Thursday, August 1 to Monday, September 30.
Scores of fishermen were seen busily pulling their fishing nets, outboard motors and other fishing gears from the shore when the Ghana News Agency visited the Elmina landing beach on Wednesday afternoon.
They had engaged the services of tricycles popularly known as“Aboboyaa” to convey their fishing gears to their various homes though some of them were not in full support of the directive.
Some Fisher folks welcomed the directive and described it as a step in the right direction but others believed the observance of the closed season would not yield any significant impact.
“If our elders say we should observe a one month close fishing season, we have nothing to say, we only have to comply” Justice Boham, a 45 year old fisherman said.
According to him, the close season might not be the only solution to restore depleted fish stocks, but also the activities of foreign vessels on the high seas must be checked.
Mr. Boham said times were tough but he believed the overall outcome will inure to their benefits if they all complied.
It would be recalled that the government through the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development in collaboration with the Fisheries Commission, last year, came up with the directive of the closed season.
However, its enforcement had to be deferred to this year due to concerns raised by the fishermen that they were not adequately consulted.
The observance of the close season is aimed at reducing the over-exploitation of fish stocks as in line with the Ghana Fisheries Regulations and Marine Management Plan.
Though it was evident that the fishermen in Elmina were ready to comply with the directive, they were however not happy that the directive did not include industrial trawlers, which were mostly owned by foreign nationals.
“The trawling boats are the ones who are really destroying our sea. How can you close the sea for us the artisanal fishers and leave the industrial trawlers? They are really worrying us”, Ekow Yeboah, a fisherman said.
“As I speak to you now, if you go to the sea, you will see them there. They are always there. They drag our nets and destroy them always” another fisherman,Joseph Aggrey added.
They lamented how the activities of the trawlers and the use unorthordox fishing methods were affecting their business and urged the government to intensify efforts to halt such activities.