The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng has rejected accusations that the government is insensitive to the plight of fisher folks with the ban on fishing at sea.
Government announced a closed season for all fishing activities in the ocean as part of measures to improve the country’s dwindling fish stock.
The directive which kicks in next month has been met with fierce resistance from fisher folks across the country. Currently the nation’s fish stock is critically low prompting the move by government.
Anti-Human Trafficking NGO, Challenging Heights, in criticizing the directive warned that it will cause majority of affected fishermen to migrate to the Volta Lake as an alternative until the closed season is over, putting pressure on the Volta Lake, increasing child trafficking prevalence in deprived communities along the coastal communities in the process.
Canoe Fishermen Association also served notice it would go to court over the decision to close the sea for fishing for a month.
According to him, the directive if allowed to stand would “inflict unnecessary gratuitous hardship on the fishermen and this is what we are going to accept.”
Reacting to the uproar that greeted the directive, Prof. Boateng called for calm, pointing out that the ban was to enable the country replenish its diminishing fish stock.
According to him, accusations that the government was being insensitive and overly wicked by the directive was misplaced, stressing it was imperative for such decision to be taken to protect aquatic life for sustainability.
“Bear with us. We are not a wicked government. We are really using science and technology to help fishermen. Maybe we didn’t start the education early enough. But the thing is that it will be good for us. We don’t want to deplete our fish stock and then Ghanaians have to travel all the way to Gambia or Senegal before they can get the fish that they need.
“So that’s the essence of the close season,” Prof. Boateng told journalists at the Koforidua Technical University at the opening ceremony of the 10th International Applied Research Conference and Technology Fair.
“I am pleading with the fishermen, we love you, we all have relatives who are involved in this trade, and just bear with us, two weeks to one month it will be over then we can all enjoy the fish,” he added.