The 2021 closed season is just hours away but the Canoe and Fishing Gear Owners Association of Ghana wants implementation managed very well.

They say an effective implementation of the policy, the fishing closed season in Artisanal Fisheries, would make the close season in Ghana a permanent feature that would not be resisted by any group of fishermen.

The Association have teamed up with the Centre for Coastal Management at the University of Cape Coast to deliberate on the effective implementation of the 2021 closed season.

Executive Member of the Association, Nana Kweigya, explained, the success of the closed season cannot be achieved by the efforts of government alone, nor any one specific stakeholder but with the support of all stakeholders in the fishing industry.

He stated, “it is regrettable that Canoe and Gear Owners who are the key stakeholders in artisanal fisheries are left behind in meaningful stakeholder engagements, resulting in huge gaps and weak participation of artisanal fishers in fisheries governance.”

He indicated, the Canoe and Gear Owners have a critical role to play to make the closed season effective; stop the illegal unreported and unregulated fishing practices; help to halt the decline in fish stocks and also help to rebuild the marine fisheries.

He remarked, “The era when such key actors are not directly involved in fisheries governance should be over after today.”

He added, “as the actual investors in artisanal fisheries subsector, the Canoe and Gear Owners have the economic and social decision-making power as to the business of artisanal fishing which drives the whole fisheries economy.”

This collaboration with the Centre for Coastal Management (Africa Centre of Excellence in Coastal Resilience), of the University of Cape Coast, he says, is significant because it has created the platform for stakeholders to combine experience and science to influence fisheries policy.

The Executive Council, participants, and the entire members of CaFGOAG expressed their heartfelt appreciation to Centre for Coastal Management, (Africa Centre of Excellence in Coastal Resilience), University of Cape Coast for the collaboration and support.

 “We also appeal to other fisheries stakeholders for partnership and supports to address the many issues in our fisheries,” they emphasized. 

The Association, believes once the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Fisheries Commissions take steps to address the many fisheries issues, they pledge their support to deepen awareness creation on the importance of the Closed Seasons before and during the closure; produce assessment report of successes and challenges of the past closed season to promote compliance and institute Participatory Monitoring, Control and Surveillance for the Closed Season.

The rest of their roles are to engage fishers and stakeholders to develop a sustainable plan to combat the widespread IUU fishing particularly Saiko; develop harvest control plan and fisheries management plan to promote sustainable fisheries; and identify and implement alternative livelihood activities for artisanal fishers during the Closed Season period.

They hoped that MoFAD and the Fisheries Commission would prioritize the effective implementation of the 2021 Fishing Closed Season and effective participation of Canoe and Gear Owners in fisheries governance and management to bring improvement in our fisheries.