Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, has announced in Parliament that to partly mitigate the social-cultural impact on the ban on fishing and to ensure that cultural and traditional practices, especially those related to fishing during August are not affected, the government has shifted the ban to between August 7 and September 4, 2018.
Announcing the new move by the government in Parliament yesterday, the minister said the government had put in place some measures to mitigate the impact of the temporary ban or closed season, stressing that an Alternative Livelihood Committee had been put in place which has assisted in selecting communities to implement alternative livelihood schemes such as collecting and processing of plastics along the beaches and in the lagoons for money.
She also said Landing Beach Committees (LBCs) are supposed to use some fixed portions of the 53 per cent of the premix fuel margins meant for development to all fishermen identified within their LBCs.
She explained to the House that the temporary ban is to ensure sustainable fish food and nutrition security as well as guarantee income and livelihood for fishermen.
“The closure is to prevent the huge security crisis that will arise if the artisanal fishing sector collapses that will result in mass unemployment, high incidence of poverty and increased social vices in the fishing communities,” she disclosed.
She indicated that if the closure is limited to a select number of fleet and gear types, the incidence of high by-catch may not be avoided and will therefore defeat the purpose of the closure.
The Minority MPs were not happy about the ban and had earlier held a press conference to ask the government to lift the ban because it would bring untold hardship to fishermen and their families.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Ablekuma South, Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, for his part, appealed to the government to re-look at the effect of the ban on the fishing communities adding that the ministry should have widely consulted fishermen and opinion leaders in the fishing communities on the need for the ban so that the agitation would have been minimised.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr