Fishermen in the Central region are protesting government’s decision to close the fishing season for the month of August.
Clad in red, fishermen and fishmongers in Elmina are asking the government to back down on its decision.
Government instituted the new fishing calendar with a ban in August in order to replenish fish stock but the fishermen are angry.
In their anger and protest, they say there was no consultation at all before the calendar was introduced.
Some say the month of August is the month for a bumper fish harvest and are wondering why a ban will be placed on fishing during that important month.
Led by the Omanhene of the Edina Traditional area, Nana Kojo Conduah, the fishermen want the government to shift the closure to 2019, saying the month-long ban in August 2018 will impoverish them.
Chanting and waving their red armbands the fishermen want an immediate rethink of the policy.
One of the protestors, Richard Kobina said the policy will affect them terribly if the government went ahead.
Meanwhile, chairman of the scientific and technical working group of the sustainable fisheries management project, Prof. Kobina Yankson says the government must tackle the issues confronting the fisheries sector holistically.
According to him, the month-long ban alone is inadequate if the government fails to enforce laws against illegal and unregulated fishing practices.
“Closing the fishing season in Ghana should not be in November, January or February as is being done. It should be in August. In our tropical waters here in Ghana the major breeding season is in August…” he said.
While he acknowledged complaints of lack of information on the one month ban, he said the technical working group informed stakeholders and the fisheries commission before going ahead with the policy.
“Closing the season for one month or one year is not the panacea in itself. After the closure all the fishing management rules and regulations should be enforced,” he said.
The protest notwithstanding, the government remains adamant in its resolve to implement the new policy.
A statement issued and signed by the Fisheries Minister Elizabeth Afoley Quaye says the one month ban in August was imposed with “scientific evidence.”
“While she appreciates the concerns raised she was quick to add Spawning occurs largely in August. During the upwelling, the pregnant fish comes to the shore to feed on the greens. It is at this time that fishermen easily get access to the fish and call it the bumper season.
“Most of the fish caught within this period are filled with eggs (the roe).
“Looking back when we were much younger, it could be recollected that the fish caught within this period when processed pops and the fatty cells of the pregnant fish splashes on whoever is cooking it.
“A single fish produces over 70,000 eggs.
“The herrings season as we once had is no more. If anyone tells you that we get bumper harvest in August, what I can say is that , the stocks have been depleted, We have consumed the fish with its eggs.
“So for over 20years running, we no more have the bumper catch,” she stated.