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GITA pushes for exemption from August close season

The Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association, GITA, is impressing on government to exempt them from the close season this August.

The group in a petition to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development intercepted by Asempanews.com is premised on a number of issues, including massive costs incurred earlier in the year due to high cost of Marine Gas Oil, cost of maintenance, port charges and a host of others.

Sammy Nii Okai Quaye, President of GITA, in the petition said, “We are compelled by laws to increase labour remuneration, our cost of maintenance is high, port charges get higher, we pay taxes on ship stores among many challenges.

“These are cost incurred during the previous closed season and a revenue lost at an estimated at US$21,300,000 for about 71 vessels covering the 5 months the sector observed moratorium.”

It is in light of this that GITA is calling on government to exempt them from the closing seasons to generate some revenue to clear debts incurred due to the observation of moratorium from previous seasons.

Closed fishing seasons are imposed during the breeding period of harvested species in the belief that this will achieve greater annual reproductive output by reducing annual fishing mortality.

Read petition below.

GHANA INDUSTRIAL TRAWLERS ASSOCIATION
GITA

The Hon. Minister
Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development
Ridge-Accra

3rd July, 2018

Dear Hon. Minister,

PETITION-PROPOSED AUGUST CLOSED SEASON AND ITS IMPACT ON THE INDUSTRIAL TRAWL SECTOR
The Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association, GITA, has shown and exhibited high level of corporation and compliance to all policies and programmes even at the detriment of its very existence.
Between November 2016 and now, our member vessels had closed fishing for 5 months in an effort to get the stocks to rebound. We have been excluded completely from the Inshore Exclusive Zones and maintained standard mesh size.
Whiles we do this, we continue to pay fishing license fees, we are faced with high cost of Marine Gas Oil, we are compelled by laws to increase labour remuneration, our cost of maintenance is high, port charges get higher, we pay taxes on ship stores among many challenges.

These are cost incurred during the previous closed season and a revenue lost at an estimated at US$21,300,000 for about 71 vessels covering the 5 months the sector observed moratorium.
During this same period, the sector made US$562,000 statutory payments even without fishing.

The trawl sector based on the cost stated above and the issues below should be exempted from the close season this August.

1. We have already lost two months this year not fishing due to the moratorium
2. Some of our vessels even after the moratorium were not issued with licenses until very late
3. We have just been issued with our second quarter licenses commencing July 1st and we have a number of our vessels fishing for over 40 days. Meaning some of our vessels may be compelled to return midway in fishing thus resulting in lots of lost
4. We wouldn’t be able to pay our crew and that may result in hardship and concomitant increase in crime

We are however, willing to observe closed areas and any friendly approaches to sustaining our fisheries.

Counting on your support.

Thank you,
Yours faithfully,
Sammy Nii Okai Quaye (Ag. President)

Cc:
The President
NAFAG-Tema

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Source: Asempanews.com

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