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Advancing the aim for a regional fishery closed season
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Advancing the aim for a regional fishery closed season

First three-national joint fisheries closed season

The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) has confirmed that this year, for the first time ever, three of its Member States (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana) are implementing entire fisheries subsector closed seasons and advancing the region’s march toward establishing a regional fishery closed season.

Benin has become the third FCWC country to participate in the entire fisheries subsector closed season implementation after it announced plans to implement a closed season for its entire artisanal fisheries subsector from 8 July to 8 August 2024. The decision builds upon last year’s beach seine fisheries ban which Benin implemented from 16 June to 21 July 2023.

La Côte d’Ivoire is also continuing last year’s efforts and announced that it would repeat a closed season for its entire artisanal fisheries subsector from 1 July – 31 August 2024. Ghana, in keeping with previous fisheries closed seasons since 2016 is implementing a fishery closed season for its artisanal and inshore fleet for the same period and the same duration.

It is important to note that the Ivorian fisheries closed season extends past marine fisheries to include fishing bans on lagoons (1 July to 31 August 2024) and lakes (1 September to 31 October 2024): two months each.

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are implementing industrial trawl sector fishing bans for 1 July – 31 August 2024. An important distinction for this fisheries subsector ban is that in Cote d’Ivoire, the semi-industrial fleet are observing the two-month closure, whereas in Ghana, the semi-industrial fleet have been grouped with the artisanal fleet, and will therefore only observe the one-month cessation of fishing activity.

“The progress it signifies concerning our cooperation in fisheries management demonstrates that the FCWC Member States appreciate the significance of joint action to preserve and restore our fish stocks, and are committed to working toward the establishment of a regional closed season.”

FCWC Secretary-General commented on these latest developments stating “I must thank and commend the Ministers for Fisheries of Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, and Ghana for producing these landmark achievements which taken together culminate into one massive success for our FCWC region: an expanded joint fisheries closed season. The progress it signifies concerning our cooperation in fisheries management demonstrates that the FCWC Member States appreciate the significance of joint action to preserve and restore our fish stocks, and are committed to working toward the establishment of a regional closed season.”

The FCWC Secretariat has called for the requisite vigilance and diligence during these fisheries’ closed season period to ensure compliance and has pledged to support Member States’ efforts to monitor fishing vessel activity through the FCWC Regional MCS Centre.

Building on burgeoning regional cooperation and development of partnerships with other regions and States, the FCWC’s neighbouring countries (Sierra Leone and Cameroon), the FCWC’s sibling organization, the Subregional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) and other fisheries and maritime partners and agencies have been duly informed of the joint fisheries closed season and asked to step up their MCS activities accordingly.

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