With the lifting of the 2021 closed season, Dago, a fishing community along the coast of the Central Region of Ghana, is bubbly once again with commercial activity. Having been made seemingly idle with the month-long closed season, Dago is back to life. The canoes, with their colorful designs and interestingly worded inscriptions, line the shore. Having brought life back to the community, the vessel operators beam with smiles and descend with an air of self-accomplishment.
Sweat drips off the faces of the folks as all and sundry find themselves on the shore ready to transact deals and pick the best of the catch. The scorching sun is not deterrent enough; men, women, and children all bask in the excitement that landed fish brings – this is no mean quantity of fish landed. Fish catches have been landed for a couple of days running with so much currency changing hands as fishermen seek to sell their catch and fishmongers seek to purchase ahead of the competition.
The entire community is smoky; fuelwood and fire have gained currency once again. Heat from the ovens draws parallel to the deserts of Arabia as freshly-caught fish enter into the dance of fire and are transformed into processed wares with extended shelf life.
Aside the intended rebuilding of fish stocks, fisherfolk derived some latent benefits from the closed season. Maame Adu, a fishmonger from Otuam who had made her way to Dago to purchase fresh fish, indicated that before the closed season this year, she had difficulty turning over all her processed fish due to high levels of supply in the market. During the closed season, she could effortlessly sell her commodity and demand a higher price due to the decrease in fish supply. “Smoked barracuda that I usually sell at 20 cedis, I sold it for 30 cedis due to the ban on fishing”, said Maame Adu
Asked about the need for subsequent closed seasons, she remarked that:
“I believe it has come to stay. It has afforded us some rest and done good to our business. I look forward to Government and fisherfolk being committed to observing the closed season in the coming years”.