The government has started an inter-ministerial approach to deal with illegal fishing methods and over-exploitation of marine resources that threaten the country’s marine ecology, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has revealed.
Additionally, he said, the government had put in place a fisheries management plan to ensure the long-term conservation of the country’s waters and marine stocks.
The key objectives of the plan include the reduction of excessive pressure on marine stocks, effective legislation, strengthening participatory decision making and meeting regional and international obligations.
Welcoming the R/V Fridtjof Nansen fisheries research vessel to Ghana at the Tema Harbour on Thursday, President Akufo-Addo said Ghana was also contemplating acquiring its own research vessel to help in the monitoring of its fish stock.
The research vessel is in Ghana to assess marine stock levels in the country’s waters.
Its programme has been unique in training scientists and equipping them with the necessary tools to assess fish stocks in the country’s waters.
Fisheries management plan
The President said illegal methods of fishing and the over-exploitation of Ghana’s marine resources could not continue, as they threatened the very essence of the country’s existence.
He said over the years, and especially in recent times, nearly all of Ghana’s marine and some inland water bodies had been over-fished.
That, he said, was buttressed by the last stock survey conducted in April 2016 that showed that sardines, the dominant fish stock, were disappearing from Ghana’s waters.
“Although population growth can be said to be a contributory factor, the twin evils of illegal fishing and over-exploitation of our marine resources have worsened an already dire situation. This cannot continue to happen, as it threatens the very essence of our existence,” he said.
Controlling human activities
President Akufo-Addo said Ghanaians might have little or no control over climate fluctuations or changes, “but one thing we can have control over is our day-to-day activities. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) methods are depleting our fish stocks. Our beautiful coastal wetlands are threatened by high volumes of plastic and metal waste that choke breeding habitats for fish”.
As co-Chair of the Advocacy Group of Eminent Persons for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he said, SDG Four required that countries conserved and sustainably used the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Reiterating Ghana’s commitment to the implementation of SDG 14, the President said the government was committed to “eliminating pollution on Ghana’s coast and significantly reducing pollution in the marine ecosystem by 2025 by tackling the current challenges posed by the use of plastics and the indiscriminate disposal of waste”.
He added that Ghana aimed at completing the assessment of ecologically sensitive areas along its coast and designate its first marine protected area by 2025 to safeguard coastal and marine biodiversity.
Safeguarding the environment
“We recognise that the wealth of resources that oceans provide form an important part of the common heritage of mankind and we owe it to ourselves and to succeeding generations to conserve this natural heritage. Let us continue to develop our oil find and fish resources into an integrated entity where food security is guaranteed and business thrives,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo expressed his appreciation to the Norwegian government and his co-Chair of the Advocacy Group of Eminent Persons for the SDGs, Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, who was, happily, re-elected earlier this week, for the gesture.
About the vessel
“I wish the new research vessel, the R/V Dr Fridtjof Nansen, her captain and the crew well and a happy stay in our country and pray for God’s guidance in this mission and in all of its endeavours,” he said.
Throwing more light on the vessel, the Cruise Leader, Dr Staby Arved, said the marine research vessel was owned by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).
He said the vessel was built as part of the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) project and jointly operated by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and the University of Bergen (UIB) to help developing countries improve their fisheries management.
The primary duties of the vessel, he said, included ecosystem studies and emphasising fishery research operations.
Source: Graphic Online