Anloga Fisherfolk Angry Over Closed Season On Sea, Lagoons
Some fisherfolk in the Anloga Municipality of the Volta Region say dealing with the country's depleting fish stock will require strict adherence to best fishing practices and not the observation of closed seasons.
The fisherfolk are thus asking the government to invest in enforcing strict compliance of accepted fishing practices.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development had announced a closed fishing season for inshore and artisanal fishers, from May 15 to June 15, 2019.
Industrial trawlers would be observing the closed season from August 1 to September 30.
Some fisherfolk in the Anloga District are however not enthused about this approach.
They believe the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development should not have implemented the closed season regulation on the sea and the lagoon at the same time since their livelihoods depend on both.
“Where we are now, we have two water bodies, the lagoon and the sea. And we are hopeful that a law will be created that we the fishermen use the lagoon alone and not the sea and the next year we use the sea. That was our suggestion but now we’ve heard that a law was made to ban us from using both the lagoon and the sea. We as fishermen are not happy so I have told my colleagues that we should go to the authorities and let them know our plights,” Tanu Elikplim, a fisherman lamented to Citi News.
Another fish dealer, Vivian Degenogor, told Citi News the implementation of the policy will affect their livelihood.
“This is the work that I’ve been doing which I feed the children with. If they implement this law, what will our children eat? When we buy some fish and we make a profit of Ghc5, it is that money we use to feed our children and now that they have made this law, how do we, who work here, feed our children?”
The fisherfolk are also of the view that the closed season is not the solution to the depleting fish stock, but rather the strict enforcement of existing fishing regulations.
“The solution to the depleting fish stock is not the closing seasons. It is in the strict enforcement of existing rules and regulations. We have asked the assembly to provide us with testing tools and other equipment to fight illegalities in the fishing industry but to no avail”.
Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Madam Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, who was commissioning a landing beach in the Anloga Municipality, explained that implementing the closed season in turns will be confusing.
“If we close the season in turns on the lagoon and the sea, there will be confusion. Some people will fish on the lagoon and then say they fished on the sea and we will not achieve the purpose of the closed season so it is better for all of us to observe the closed season for our own good, it is for our collective good as a nation,” Afoley Quaye told Citi News.
The Minister also promised to provide the fisherfolk with equipment needed in testing fishes to determine if there are toxic materials in them or not.