Dr Linda Maud Naa-Dedei Palm, a Research Consultant has called for the sustainability of a pilot project on the collection of waste fishing nets in Jamestown in the Greater Accra and Nyanyanor, in the Central region.
Dr Palm said the pilot project was successful in the two fishing communities, stressing that the volume of waste fishing nets collected for Jamestown was 720 kg while Nyanyanor collected 841 kg of waste fishing nets.
She said this on Monday at a workshop to present the outcome of the pilot project on the collection of waste fishing nets, aimed to contribute to the prevention and significant reduction of marine litter from sources in the country.
The project was supported by the Oeko-Institut in collaboration with NORAD and BRS Conventions and conducted by three Resource Persons for Centre for Sustainable Cycles (SCYCLES Ghana).
Touching on the project, Dr Palm, who is also a Resource Person for SCYCLES Ghana said a stakeholder consultative meeting, biweekly sampling collection scheme at the landing site was adopted in which individuals with derelict fishing nets categorized into cotton or nylon were sensitized on the importance of the project.
She said based on several methodological approaches to retrieve waste fishing nets from the beaches and the community, a buy-back scheme was adopted to provide incentives to individuals for collecting waste nets and encourage fishermen to collect the nets for sound management.
She said the collected fishing nets waste were sent to Sea2sea Company, an international organization for recycling.
Dr Palm said the fisheries sector played a major role in the country’s socio-economic growth by making a significant contribution towards reducing poverty, food security, and sustainable livelihoods.
She said Ghana’s marine ecosystem was inundated with a myriad of sanitation challenges especially plastic waste, adding that the management of marine litter was vital to the marine and coastal ecosystems.
However, various studies have predicted that unless some interventions occur, with the current per capita waste generated, the volumes of plastics entering the marine environment could double by the end of 2025.
Discarded and abandoned waste fishing nets, she said constituted a significant proportion of marine plastics litter and that waste fishing nets had serious impacts on fishing activities by damaging propellers of fishing vessels, and the negative consequences on seafood, wildlife, and humans.
Dr Harriet Danso-Abbeam, a Resource Person, SCYCLES Ghana called for an urgent need for intensive consultation at both local and national levels with operators of fishing activities to design a well-developed continuous education programme to promote sustainable fishing practices on the beaches and seas.
She called for appropriate policy reform and law enforcement to reduce marine plastic litter across the beaches.
Mr Oliver Boachie, the Special Advisor to the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation said the project was part of a component under which the country’s plastic waste management system to fight the menace of marine litter and plastic pollution.
He said Ghana had partnered with several countries and foundations around the world to address the menace of plastics at the global level.
“We have as part of the National Plastic Management Policy come up with a scheme known as the resource recovery secretariat, created to be a unit that is solely responsible for the management of plastics”, he said.
Mr Richard Mensah, a Fisherman at Jamestown expressed satisfaction about the project and called on authorities to establish a waste fishing net delivery center where individuals who have in their possession waste nets can deposit.