ACCRA, July 13 (Xinhua) -- The Ghanaian government Friday announced new measures to reverse the alarming decline in marine fish stock in the country.
Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Elizabeth Afoley Quaye announced at a press briefing that the country will annually observe a closed season of one month for marine fishing to allow for uninterrupted breeding.
The minister observed that while Ghanaians had believed in "sea never dries," the sea was however drying in terms of its fishing resources.
"The president has directed that fishing for all fleets, with exception of tuna, should be closed for one month beginning this August," Quaye said.
August, the maximum spawning period for fishes, is also touted as the bumper season of marine fishing in Ghana.
However, the minister lamented that during this season, a lot of pregnant fishes were caught and thus reducing the spawning potential for the following year, which has contributed to the rapid decline in the ocean fish stock.
"A person who engages in fishing during the closed season declared commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 5000,000 U.S. dollars and not more than 2 million dollars in respect of local industrial or semi-industrial vessel," she cautioned.
In an interview with Xinhua, Emmanuel Nii Clotey, spokesman for fishermen in the capital, welcomed the measures and prayed the minister to enforce all the other measures to protect the industry from collapse.
"We appreciate the decision taken by the government and the minister. But what we are saying is that after the closed season, we want the government and the minister for fisheries to be able to put a stop to illegal fishing in our waters. That is causing us to lose our fishing sector jobs," he urged.