NGO trains marine industry regulators on accessing coastal water quality  

non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

Regulators in the Marine Industry have received training on scientific methods to access coastal water quality with the aid of Mussels, a type of shellfish in Ghana’s marine waters.

The training workshop formed part of measures to equip participants with the knowledge and skills in assessing coastal water quality, using filter-feeding shellfish such as Mussels to monitor and report pollution of coastal waters.

Participants were drawn from regulatory agencies such as the Ghana Navy, the Marine Police, the Fisheries Commission (FC), the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU).

The two-day training workshop is under the auspices of Friends of the Nation(FoN) in collaboration with OXFAM Ghana with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Corporation (NORAD).

Opening the workshop, the Project Officer at FoN, Mr Eric Mawuko Atsiatorme, on behalf of the Director of Friends of the Nation (FoN), Mr Donkris Mevuta called for a consistent monitoring regime and regular tests to ascertain the state of marine species under exposure.

He said the filter-feeding shellfish approach was a scientifically proven method to aid experts and regulators in the Marine sector to determine whether any substance had polluted the waters thereby posing a threat of the very survival of Marine organisms.

Mr Atsiatorme took participants through the theoretical and practical training of using the filter-feeding shellfish method of experimentation to ensure the “Survival in Air Assay” of specific Marine species to determine the actual condition of such species.

He said the experiment which could be performed in the field, in the laboratory and behind the desk, was easy and less cost effective.

Mr Atsiatorme noted that the true value of the sea shellfish (Mussels) would be proven after a calamity such as oil spillage.

He said the findings could be integrated into the existing monitoring Programmes of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

According to the Project Officer if Marine eco-systems land on the shores, people should be patient and not scramble to ensure their survival.

“Such Marine species should be taken to the laboratory within 30 minutes for experimentation,” he emphasised.

Mr Atsiatorme said the rationale behind the research was to allow communities within coastal areas to use bio-data to assess Marine activities for the attention of duty bearers.

He observed that the training workshop would expose participants to the right information about Marine species and how to handle them.

Another Project Officer at FoN, Mr Philip Prah noted that some of the mussels were not found on other beaches as people fed on them and struggle with officials of FoN as they picked samples for experiment.

Mr Prah said FoN had trained personnel and students on how to pick the mussels and how to record information on their findings.

He advised them to take note of the spawning period between April and June to give way to reproduction.

The training took participants to the Iture Rock on the shores of Cape Coast where they had direct contact with the mussels for practical training.

“It is expected that if the mussels are able to survive for 72 hours, it is an indication that the Marine waters are safe and not polluted,” Mr Prah added.

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