Former President John Dramani Mahama has been mocked by Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Mrs. Mavis Hawa Koomson for his pledge to revoke the country’s fishing close season if re-elected.
Speaking to a large crowd of National Democratic Congress (NDC) delegates and supporters in Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem and Cape Coast, the former president pledged that the future NDC-led administration would establish a “closed season” for only industrial fishing trawlers.
He said there won’t be any closed seasons for subsistence fishing because the country’s declining marine stocks are primarily due to the rise in industrial fishing vessels and their unlawful fishing methods in Ghana’s territorial waters.
“Artisanal fishers would be allowed to operate during the closed season to support their livelihoods. When the NDC takes over the reins of government, the law on closed season will not affect small-scale fishermen who use canoes. It is the big trawlers that will not be allowed to fish during the closed season.”
“The canoe fishermen are not the ones destroying the sea but the heavy industrial trawlers who fish beyond their nautical miles amidst all forms of illegal fishing practices,” former President Mahama stated.
Hawa Koomson in response to this promise
However, Mrs. Hawa Koomson said that the previous president was just politicking the topic of fishing closed seasons in response to this commitment during a Friday encounter with the media outside of a stakeholder engagement to evaluate the 2022 closed season.
She claimed that although Mr. Mahama had the chance to put an end to illicit fishing in Ghana’s territorial seas while he was president, he utterly failed.
“I have realised that politicians sometimes try to deceive our fisherfolks because they think they are just fishers and they don’t know what is happening in the country. We should not allow politicians to use these people. Nobody should come and promise that if he becomes president, he will cancel the closed seasons.”
“He was a president of Ghana, under his watch there were a lot of illegal fishing activities on our waters and our fishers were crying. The EU was even worried about the illegal fishing activities on our waters but he was not able to stop them. It took His Excellence Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, through Mavis Hawa Koomson, to stop these illegal activities,” the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development reiterated in Twi.
The Minister has therefore urged fishers to save for the closed season
She emphasized that the closed season is necessary to prevent the depletion or loss of fish populations in the country’s water bodies.
So that their livelihood won’t be significantly harmed during the season, the Minister has asked fishermen to save for the off-season.