Members of the Canoe and Fishing Gear Owners Association of Ghana (CaFGOAG) have resolved to support the 2022 closed season but have concerns which they want the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to address.

The Association says the Closed Fishing Season for Canoe Fishers since its successful implementation in 2019 has become a necessary management measure, especially in the artisanal subsector.

They affirmed their support for the implementation of closed season, adding that it will contribute to the restocking of the depleted marine fish stocks.

However, they say there are some concerns that, if addressed, will make the closed season implementation meet the expected objectives.

“In 2021, CaFGOAG provided firm support for the implementation of the closed fishing season and organized a lot of community and press engagements to educate fishers, particularly canoe owners, on the benefits of closed fishing season.

“CaFGOAG, in collaboration with other stakeholders successfully organized sensitization workshops for canoe and gear owners on the role canoe owners are to play to make the implementation successful,” they stated.

According to the association, at the 5th National Council Meeting held at Keta on April 12th, 2022, the National Council resolved to support the implementation of the 2022 closed fishing season.

Below is the full statement signed by its President, Nana Kweigya.

OPEN LETTER TO THE MINISTER, MINISTRY OF FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT ACCRA

Dear Hon. Minister,

CONCERNS OVER IMPLEMENTATION OF 2022 CLOSED FISHING SEASON

FROM CANOE AND FISHING GEAR OWNERS ASSOCIATION OF GHANA (CaFGOAG)

Since its successful implementation in 2019, the closed fishing season for canoe fishers has become a necessary management measure, especially in the artisanal subsector.

CaFGOAG supports the implementation of closed season as an important fisheries management measure that will contribute to rebuilding our depleted marine fish stocks. However, we would like to bring to your attention, some concerns that, if addressed, will make the closed season implementation meet the expected objectives.

In 2021, CaFGOAG provided firm support for the implementation of the closed fishing season and organized a lot of community, and press engagements to educate fishers, particularly canoe owners, on the benefits of the closed fishing season. CaFGOAG, in collaboration with other stakeholders, successfully organized sensitization workshops for canoe and gear owners on the role canoe owners are to play to make the implementation successful. Please find attached the press releases to that effect.

At the 5th National Council Meeting held at Keta on April 12th, 2022, the National Council resolved to support the implementation of the 2022 closed fishing season. Additionally, the National Council resolved to bring to the attention of the Ministry and the Fisheries Commission for redress the concerns of the canoe and gear owners as follows:

1. Fishers are not opposed to a closed fishing season as a management measure. However, confidence in the closed season is fast waning due to poor management of expectations of fishers and the continuous decline in catch, when trawlers continue to land small pelagic species;

2. Growing hardship in fishing communities and the current economic situation keep pushing more fishers to oppose the closed season;

3. Over two months of shortage of premix fuel and mismanagement of the limited premix fuel supply are creating unnecessary tension and disaffection among fishers. Premix fuel related issues remain the major factor fueling the agitations against the 2022 closed fishing season;

4. Uncertainty about adequate support during the closure;

5. Many fishers preferred August to July for this year’s closure;

6. The growing understanding among fishers that without proper reforms in the trawl sector, no management measure in the artisanal sector will yield resort; and

7. Low level of engagement with canoe and gear owners

In view of the above, it is recommended that

  1. In communications about the closed fishing season, fishers’ expectations are well managed, ongoing reforms in the trawl sector are mentioned, and fishers are assured of some adequate economic support during the closure;

2.      Shortage and mismanagement of premix at the landing beaches are urgently addressed; and

3.      Engagement with fishers are extended to canoe owners, and regular meetings with representatives of artisanal fishers instituted.

Please note that as an association we will continue to engage the canoe and gear owners on the closed fishing season and share with you the sentiments of the fishers, for a successful implementation.

We respectfully call for a meeting with you to share and discuss with you plans and strategies of CaFGOAG towards effective implementation of the closed fishing season

 Signed

Nana Kweigyah

 (President – CaFGOAG)

Tel: +233 24 727 0079/+233 24 690 9643

Office Location: Inside Abandze Community Centre, along Mankessim- Cape Coast Highway, Central Region.. Email: canoeowners@gmail.com. Twitter: @CanoeGear

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.