Closed-season has boosted oyster production – Association

GNA – Ms Cecilia Senu, the Assistant Secretary of the Densu Oyester Pickers Association, has said that the five-month closed season had led to larger growth of oysters, resulting in improved livelihoods.

Ms Senu said the closed season was a good opportunity because it had help the oysters to spawn and grow bigger, increasing their production.

Ms Senu said this when Professor Francis Nunoo, the acting Chief Director at the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, visited the Community Based Fisheries for stakeholder engagement in Tsokomey in the Ga South Municipal Assembly.

The engagement was to enable the fishery communities of Tsokomey, Tetegu and Bortianor, under the USAID’s Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) to share their experiences on the benefits of the closed season of the Densu Estuary.

Touching on her experience at the end of the closed season, Ms Senu said the re-opening of the season had increased her sales, adding that, she made over GH70.00 a day, which was not possible before the closed season.

She thanked USAID for the opportunity to be trained on best fishing practices, which they would continue to practice and make an impact on what they were taught.

Ms Patience Amudzi, a member of the Association said the training has equipped them to make a great stride in restoring oysters stocks in traditional harvest areas.

Mrs Lydia Sasu, the Executive Director, Development Action Association (DAA), said the Association was a local implementing partner for the USAID’s SFMP, working directly with members of the communities to provide leadership training workshops for oyster harvesters.

She said DAA, worked with the Ghana Fisheries Commission to help oyster pickers to form the Densu Estuary Women’s Oyster Pickers Association (DOPA).

Mrs Sasu said the Association developed an organisational charter, standard operating procedures, formed a steering committee and received training in the basic science of oyster habitats and reproduction.

She stated that 30 members of DOPA were trained on how to collect and understand measurements of water quality, water salinity, turbidity and pH, a measure of water acidity.

She noted that with a growing understanding of oyster ecology and data collection, the fisherfolk were beginning to plan for the restoration of mangroves ad other measures that provide enhanced habitat for the oysters to grow.

The Executive Director said the support had strengthened their efforts to develop a co-management approach to preserve fish.

The co-management approach is forging an effective partnership between government, stakeholders and the fisherfolk to share responsibility for the management of the fishery, she added.

Prof Nunoo was impressed with the outcome of the project and commended DOPA for observing the closed, season and ensuring best fishing practices in the communities.

He said the country’s fishing industry was engulfed by a number of issues-over fishing, unsafe fish handling practices, declining fishing stock, polluted marine waters, which threatened economic and social well-being of the citizenry.

Prof Nunoo announced a one-month closed season for fishing across the country with effect from August 7 to September as part of measures to ensure stock recovery to curtail the depletion of the country’s fish stock.

He urged Fisherfolk to comply with the directives, adding that, any person who engages in fishing during the closed season committed an offence and was liable on summary conviction to a fine between $500,000 and $2 million.

Source: Ghana News Agency