As the Fisheries Ministry and the Government of Ghana were unable to institute a closed fishing season as was planned between August 7 to September 4, this year by giving in to pressure from fisherfolks ; 11 fishing communities surrounding the PRA Estuary in Shama District of the Western Region have been able to ensure a 3 month closed fishing season from May 2018 till date.
The people through local ecological knowledge identified 6 fish breeding grounds where most fish species lay their eggs and with support from the civil society group , Friends of the Nation (FON) and the Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (S.F.M.P) supported by USAID closed an area of 70.33 hectares in size for fishing from May 1,2018 to date ; speaking during a ceremony to officially open the season for fishing after the 3month closed season, the Director of Fisheries at the Fisheries Commission .
Michael Arthur-Dadzie lamented how fisher folks did not give in for a month closed season as proposed and said the expected bumper harvest in August has not been realised making it evident that the fishing sector is undergoing serious challenges hence the much needed reason the Ministry was pushing for a closed season for sustainable fisheries development.
The Director of Fisheries further warned that if care is not taken, the fishing industry will collapse if a business as usual approach is adapted and commended the Anlo Beach community for the exemplary feat in observing a 3 month closed season calling on all Fisherfolks and fishing communities to emulate.
The District Chief Executive of Shama , Joseph Amoah revealed that the district offered all support needed by the Anlo Beach Co-Management group to ensure a successful closed season;”..we have duly registered the group to have full management control of the fisheries resources in the demarcated area ; we have also included issues of fisheries management in our Medium-Term Development Plan (2017-2021)..”, the DCE added. He further hinted they will ensure it is observed annually.
Elizabeth Koomson who is a member of the Pra Estuary Co Management Committee ; showcased how fishes looked like before the closed season and how the fishes have increased in size after the 3month closed season . Members of Tsokomey , Tetegu and Bortianor Co-Management were also present to show support and solidarity as they also have undertaken a similar exercise for 5months.
The Queen mother of Nyaankrom a town in Shama , Nana Akosua Gyamfiaba requested government to be firm ,; ” government must stamp it feet to ensure the best for the industry ; like a parent and child; you ensure the best for your child no matter ; now that next year will be a year before elections I wonder if government will have the courage to enforce the closed season in 2019?” She quipped.