Was Fisheries Ministry coerced into accepting May 15 closed season?

Was Fisheries Ministry coerced into accepting May 15 closed season?
Source: Ghana| Myjoyonline.com |Abubakar Ibrahim |abubakar.ibrahim@myjoyonline.com
Date: 10-04-2019 Time: 04:04:07:pm
Elizabeth Afoley Quaye said the Ministry engaged all stakeholders before settling on May 15 as Close Season

The Fisheries Minister has disclosed that the Ministry reluctantly agreed to the May 15 to June 15 closed season.

According to Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, some people had expected the Ministry to oppose the proposed dates this year so the closed season won’t come off.

“So, we reluctantly agreed with the May 15 to June 15 dates believing that, because there is some minimal production [within that date]...we’d have still made some [progress],” she said.

Addressing journalists in Accra Wednesday, the Minister explained that the fisherfolk stand to benefit because the industrial companies embark on their closed season in August by which time they would have observed theirs.

Her comments come in the wake of a letter from some members of the Ghana National Canoe and Fishermen Council (GNCFC) addressed to the Ministry, okaying the choice of August for the start of the closed season.

According to them, the Ministry should consider sticking to it and not the newly announced May 15 date.

Last year, government postponed the ban on all fishing activities in Ghana, which was expected to start August 7, 2018, to be implemented this year. 

The decision followed a series of agitations raised against the planned implementation with many of the fisherfolk vowing to violate the order.

Related: Gov’t moves to protect depleting fish stock, set to announce closed season

Some fishermen in Cape Coast protesting last year’s Close Season

But Madam Afoley Quaye disagrees with the GNCFC’s request.

She said the Ministry has “engaged properly with the fishermen and they came out with the date that they thought was okay for them.”

She lamented how some individuals and groups create the impression that the Ministry is autocratic and does not engage the fisherfolk and other stakeholders.

“We do a lot of engagements…most of our times is spent with the fishermen…Now, every meeting we have with them is recorded. This is because we don’t want a situation where some fishermen will go out and say they were not engaged,” she disclosed.

Madam Afoley Quaye said detractors should stop hiding behind certain elements to create problems for those in the sector.

“It is the Fisheries Ministry that regulates the sector in this country and we cannot relinquish our mandate to any group of individuals. It is our duty and we are doing what we are supposed to do,” she stated.