Tema: Four fishermen convicted for flouting closed season

The four fishermen – Kennedy Ganavudo, 22, Francis Bobole, 20, Jonas Ametepe Kushi, 35, and Kobla Aboste, 46 – were fined GHC19,200 in total (400 penalty units each), in default of which each will be sentenced to one month in jail

Four fishermen have been convicted at the TDC District Court in Tema for flouting the closed fishing season imposed by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development.

The magistrate Benedicta Antwi slapped sentences on the four after hearing the brief facts of the case.

The court further ordered the police to confiscate the fish catch found in the fishermen’s possession as well as their fishing equipment.

Three out of the four men convicted pleaded guilty. Francis Bobole however pleaded guilty with explanation.

Bobole told the court that the four men had travelled to Togo on a fishing expedition but because of the bad weather conditions, they did not realise they had strayed into Ghanaian waters, where the closed season was in force at the time of their arrest.

After hearing the explanation, the court returned a plea of guilty as the explanation did not raise any reasonable defence.

Brief facts

The facts, as narrated in court by Inspector Hilda A Sarkodie, were that on 25 July 2023, at about 4pm, a joint force from the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU), comprising officers from the Monitoring Control Surveillance Division (MCSD) and officers from the Marine Police, embarked on a patrol of the seas on board a Ghana navy vessel to track down fishermen who are failing to observe the closed season.

The closed season started on 1 July 2023.

She said in the process, the four fishermen were arrested in two separate canoes while fishing, contrary to Section 84 of the Fisheries Act 2002 (Act 625). An unspecified quantity of fish was found in their possession on board the canoes.

The prosecution said the four fishermen were handed over to the police and after investigations were charged with the offence and arraigned.

In pre-sentencing mitigation, the four fishermen asked for leniency. After hearing from the prosecution that the convicts were first-time offenders, the court imposed a fine of 400 penalty units on each of the four fishermen. (The monetary value of a single penalty unit currently stands at GHC12.)

The court also ordered the Police Service to confiscate the fish catch found in the fishermen’s possession as well as their fishing equipment.

At the time of filing this report, the relatives of the four fishermen had launched arrangements to pay the fines imposed by the court.


The closed season was implemented by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) in collaboration with the Fisheries Commission and other stakeholders, in accordance with Section 84 of the Fisheries Act.

The act seeks, among other objectives, to allow replenishment of Ghana’s overexploited and depleted fish stock. The schedule covers the favourable period for fishes to reproduce.

This year, canoe and inshore fisherfolk are expected to observe the closed season from 1 to 31 July 2023, while industrial trawlers are to observe the closed season from 1 July to 31 August 2023.

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