GHANA: Regulate fishing to boost bumper harvest - Chief Fisherman


Business and Financial Times Newspaper, Elmina, Ghana

Nana Kwesi Duncan I, Chief Fisherman of Elmina is advocating for the closure of fish season in the country to enable fishes in the sea to replenish and mature fully for healthy consumption.

He explained that if close season is observed every three months separately in all the coastal regions, fishermen in towns such as Elmina and Cape Coast in the Central Region can join their colleagues at Keta in the Volta Region for a catch - which is migration in fishing. 

In between these close season, he mentioned that some of the fishermen can use hook and line for fishing to get a catch - traditionally, we have one close day which is Tuesday in every week been observed by most of the fisher folks across the country; we are also appealing for Sunday to be instituted in addition to allow more fishes to mature.

Nana Duncan I said this when members of Journalists Responsible Fisheries and Environment (JRFE) paid him a visit to him at Elmina landing beach in the Central Region during a three-day workshop in Cape Coast. 

The three-day workshop organized by JRFE in partnership with Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) with funding support from the Adessium Foundation, Earth Journalism Network and Internews Europe on Ghana Journalists Ocean Science and Fisheries. 

The workshop aims at building the capacities of selected journalists from the four coastal regions in Ghana, namely Western, Central, Volta and Great Accra, focused on ensuring that the fishing industry which is dwindling in the country get the needed attention from stakeholders in the sector. 

Also, it is to promote the sector and enable journalists come out with new stories that will make an impact in the society as well as improve the livelihood of fisherfolks among others. 

The Chief Fisherman mentioend that light for fishing, carbide, using under size nets, explosive chemicals among others are all illegal methods used in fishing, which are not healthy and good for consumption and must be stopped illegal fishing makes fishes very vulnerable. 

He noted that although there has been decline in fish catch for about 30 decades if the right methods are used in fishing it will go a long way to sustain the industry.

Therefore, he is calling on government to give the fishing industry the needed attention and that it takes political will to do that - fishing law must work especially in all the 330 fishing communities in the country and we all must adhere to it. 

He added that the right procedures need to be followed and that it should be now and not the future to save the fishing industry, which is declining.

In an interview with Egya Kwesi Mensah, a fisherman on the close season, he lauded the idea saying: this will enable more of the fishes in the sea to grow for us to get a lot of catch. 

However, Francis Cole, a Fisherman who has been fishing for over 32 years pointed out that the close season to him, will not bring any improvement in the industry, which is dwindling and has no hope. 

"The situation will remain same if government does not put in place policies and programmes that will enable the fisherfolks to comply with," he added.

According to a 38 year-old Atta Kofi, he has been fishing for many years but for the few years now the fishing business has not been lucrative at all - I have been home for the past two weeks mending my fishing nets because the last time I went fishing, I did not make enough catch to support the upkeep of my family.

Currently he said - I am taking a break for a month to have a rest. Askied, is if there is not alternative work he can do to support the family, he mentione that is the only job he has known all his life. 

"My livelihood depends on this, I do not know any other job that will get my attention, be attractive and lucrative as fishing," he added.