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Fisheries Commission Advocates Responsible Ocean Resource Use

Tm Ocean Day Pic
Ms Eunice Ofoli-Anum

Ms Eunice Ofoli-Anum, the Deputy Director, Fisheries Scientific Survey Division (FSSD) of the Fisheries Commission, has urged the public and stakeholders to use ocean resources responsibly.

Ms Ofoli-Anum said the goal of stakeholders is to use the ocean’s resources responsibly while protecting biodiversity for future generations.

She made the call when providing a brief on Ghana and the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF-Nansen Programme), a collaboration for sustainable management of fisheries and the ocean at the Tema port, during a joint celebration of World Ocean Day by the Norwegian Research Vessel, R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture (FAO).

As part of the EAF-Nansen Programme, the research vessel is conducting research in Ghana’s marine waters to gather scientific data on the country’s marine resources and ecosystems as part of the commitment to improve fisheries management and strengthen the capacities of fisheries institutions.

She said the ocean was a vital source of food and livelihood security for many millions of people around the world, hence the need to protect and sustain its resources.

She noted, “By celebrating World Oceans Day, we are part of a movement to raise awareness of the impact of human actions on the ocean and promote the sustainable use of marine resources and ecosystems.”

Ms Ofoli-Anum indicated that fisheries were paramount to Ghana, as about 10 percent of the country’s population works within the fishery sector, and the average annual fish consumption in Ghana is higher than the estimated global average.

This, she said, underscores the need for Ghana to ensure that fisheries are sustainably managed by paying critical attention to its natural marine resources.

The FSSD Deputy Director said for Ghana to develop its capacity and strengthen fisheries management systems, it has been a long-standing partner to the Nansen Programme and benefited from new knowledge through the surveys with the R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen.

“The first survey in Ghana was in 1981, with the first Dr. Fridtjof Nansen. Since then, 18 more surveys have been conducted with consecutive vessels. All the vessels have been state-of-the-art research vessels offering advanced technologies,” she noted.

She added that the programme has also contributed to the development of fishery policies and management plans for Ghana, such as the marine fisheries management plans for 2015–2019 and 2022–2026, stating that the knowledge generated has contributed to informing various fisheries management measures.

Mr Abdul-Aziz Ayaba Musah, the Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, said Ghana’s marine waters are rich with fisheries resources that must be exploited sustainably to benefit the people and promote the common good.

Mr Musah stated, however, that the sector faces challenges such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices, climate change, marine habitat destruction, and pollution from plastics, among others, which he said have led to the overexploitation of fisheries resources, the depletion of fish species, and many other issues.

He indicated that even though the Ministry and the Fisheries Commission, in collaboration with various fisheries associations and agencies, were putting in measures to address the challenges and prevent the collapse of Ghana’s fishing industry, it was difficult to assess the impact of the measures due to the absence of a dedicated research vessel.

World Ocean Day is celebrated annually on June 8 to support the implementation of worldwide Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and foster public interest in protecting and sustainably managing the resources of the ocean, which cover over 70 percent of the earth’s surface.

2024 World Ocean Day is being celebrated globally with the theme “Awaken New Depth.”

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