Three and Half months into Office, Stakeholders could not help but to present the Minister, a CITATION for WALKING her TALK.

These words of appreciation, solidarity and encouragement were said to HON HAWA KOOMSON during the official
announcement of the 2021 closed season endorsed by all stakeholders at a press conference on Wednesday 15th June, 2021.

She declared observance of the closed season as follows:

1. 1st July – 31st July, 2021: Canoe and Inshore Fishers (i.e the artisanal & semi-industrial fleet (1 month)

2. 1st July – 31st August, 2021: Industrial Trawlers (2 months).

The Citation, jointly written by the National Fisheries Association of Ghana (NAFAG) and the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC), described the Fisheries Minister as “A WOMAN WHO KNOWS NOTHING EXCEPT TO DELIVER ON THE JOB”. Observing the excitement on their faces, the Minister seems to have won the hearts of the fishing community.

Delivering their respective good-will messages, NAFAG appealed to Regulators to enforce the closed season without fear of favor and that when the season is opened, they request for a scientific report on how the closed season fared.

The GNCFC on the other hand commended Hon HAWA Koomson for engaging stakeholders in determining the period for the closed season. They are happy that she accepted their proposed period for the closure.

The Ghana Inshore Fishers also acknowledged the Minister for touring and visiting all landing beaches in the various regions except the Volta Region where an emergency got her to reschedule the visit to the end of the month.

He assured the Minister that following her extensive stakeholder discussions, the about 400 inshore vessels owners are in full support of the closed season. Also, they can’t stoping asking Government to acquire a research vessel, soonest.

The Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association (GITA) pleaded with the Minister to intervene on their behalf for Government to waive 2 months licence fee for the period of closed season to enable them pay salaries and utilities.

NAFPTA (National Fish Processors and Traders Association) – an all female association – were tough on the fishermen. They advised them not to go to sea as they, the women, would visit the landing beaches on daily basis to ensure compliance of closed season by all.

MINISTER SPEAKS
Hon HAWA Koomson played back saying that in 2020, there was no closed season following COVID-19 management measures. However, based on scientific advice, and in consultation with the various fisheries associations, this 2021 shall witness a closed season.

She added that “the desired results of implementing the closed seasons will be attained when other types of illegal fishing activities, such as transshipment (aka siako), the use of poisonous and toxic chemicals, dynamites and other explosives are effectively controlled.”

“To enhance monitoring, control and surveillance activities on marine waters, efforts are in place to procure four (4) patrol boats and a research vessel to provide adequate data on marine fish stock.”

By: Joana Frances ADDA

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