In Ghana officials have imposed a ban on fishing to maintain the sustainability of fish stock. Trawlers and traders say the ban is hurting them.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Fisheries Commission in Ghana have placed a ban on fishing in the country. This step was taken to protect the fish and ensure more breeding to replenish declining stocks. The ban will last for the next two months.
About ten percent of the Ghana's population relies on fish but the government says there could soon be a shortage if measures are not taken to protect the sea.
Godfred Baidoo Tsibu, Deputy Director for Monitoring, Control and Surveillance at the Fisheries Commission, explained to DW the motives behind the ban: "There is need for us to put in these measures. When you put in these measures, the expectation is that we are allowing the fishes to have more time to breed. The fish that we are talking about mature very quickly," Tsibu said.
Impact of fishing ban
Players in Ghana's fishing sector have raised concerns saying the ban is negatively affecting them. "What do I do to my sea men? For two months, you got to pay them, pay their salaries, pay their social securities, what do we do?," Oyeman Ofori Anin, secretary to the Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association, told DW in an interview.
"We have suggested that we need to establish a permanent joint team that will look at the road map, because if this thing [ban] is going to be a feature of our operations for the next five years then we need a road map that can guide us," Anin said.
It's not the trawlers alone who are suffering as a result of the prohibition. Retailers who solely depend on fish from the harbor to do business are alarmed at this ban. They fear being thrown out of business within this period.
"Customers are coming here all the time, we have to get new products for them. When they come and you have only old stock, maybe they will run to the other side. Secondly, if you are not having more fish in the stock, those who have it may increase the price," Kofi Sarpong, one of the fish traders complained.
Naa Quartey, another fish retailer said the two months were going to seriously affect them. "Everybody is thinking about it, especially the cold stores. We rented it and whether you put fish in or not, you are supposed to pay," Quartey said.
But the Fisheries commission believes its directive will in the long run help improve the fortunes of Ghana's fishing industry.
"This is a very important program for the sustainability of the fish stock," Tsibu said. "We have ten percent of the population depending on fish, for their livelihoods. It means that all of us must be concerned about it."
Isaac Kaledzi contributed to this article.