The Canoe Owners Association of Ghana is demanding firm assurance from the Fisheries Commission that industrial vessels would not be at sea fishing whilst artisanal fishers religiously observe the Closed Season announced by the Commission.

By a letter dated May 5, the Fisheries Commission informed stakeholders of the date for the Closed Season, with Artisanal and Inshore Fleets starting from July 1 to 31, and Industrial Fleets starting from July 1, to August 31.

But the Association said even though they have agreed to observe the Closed Season this year, the Commission should get them properly informed about the implementation processes.

The Association, in a press statement, “it must be noted that Closed Season as a management measure can never be effective when IUU is not addressed.

“The Commission ought to be clear with us how IUU in both Industrial and Artisanal Subsectors are being addressed. The absence of that raises serious questions regarding the implementation of Fishing Closed Seasons.”

The Canoe Owners say it has become necessary to bring to the attention of the stakeholders in the fisheries industry and the general public that the implementation of the 2021 Fishing Closed Season is being threatened by the low engagements by the Fisheries Ministry and the Fisheries Commission.

“It must be noted that Closed Season as a management measure can never be effective when IUU is not addressed. The Commission ought to be clear with us how IUU in both Industrial and Artisanal Subsectors are being address. The absence of that raises serious questions regarding the implementation of Fishing Closed Seasons,” it stated.

As key stakeholders in Artisanal Fisheries, the association has accordingly written to the sector minister to engage them on their concerns to make the Closed Season effective, and they hope that the Ministry and the Commission would heed their call for the good of the marine fisheries.