Fishermen in Jamestown relax before setting out into the Atlantic for a full day shift.

The Canoe and Fishing Gear Owners Association of Ghana is urging artisanal fishermen across the country to observe this year’s closed Season voluntarily.

The Association is also urging the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Fisheries Commission to Fast-track the concerns of the artisanal fishers as the season has kickstarted.

In a release signed by the Association’s Executive Secretary, Nana Kweigya, it intimated the observance of the season was a matter of responsibility, and collaborating with government and other key stakeholders, to voluntarily observe the 2021 Fishing Closed Season would help achieve the intended purpose of the exercise.

He stated, “though the notice came late, the minister has been able to visit all the four regions to engage fishers and stakeholders on the closed season.”

He further argued it has become necessary as a country to implement a closed season due to the collective failure of all fishers towards the depletion of the Ghana’s fisheries resources.

Nana Kweigya entreated the fishers to sacrifice to make the season a success and appealed to all artisanal fishers to do so voluntarily.

“As investors in the Artisanal sub-sector, we cannot look on to the continuous failure in our fisheries management strategies,” Nana Kweigya stated.

The Association is thus demanding that the announcement of closed seasons be made at the beginning of the year, in the month of January each year to give fishers more time to prepare and save towards the closed season.

They also want the Ministry and the Fisheries Commission have to put in place a comprehensive plan and strategies to eliminate illegal unreported and unregulated fishing especially Saiko, which is the worst form of IUU fishing.

They say, addressing the IUU fishing was critical in making the fishing closed season effective and not mere words.

Apart from that, they say, there should be adequate consultation and engagements with Canoe and Gear owners to ensure that their inputs are collated and captured for improved fisheries management in Ghana.

“We have pledged our support to MoFAD/FC and we reiterate, that canoe and gear owners have key roles to play in ensuring successful and effective implementation of the 2021 Fishing Closed Season,” the association made the point.

The Canoe and Fishing Gear Owners Association of Ghana (CaFGOAG) is an association of canoe and fishing gear owners who have participated effectively in fisheries governance.