Ms Sherry Aryeetey, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, has called for intensification of efforts to protect the nation’s water resources and aquatic life.
She the exploitation of fishery resources has resulted in the degradation and the destruction of the marine environment, dwindling of fish stocks and the depletion of aquatic resources.
Ms Aryeetey said though Ghana was endowed with numerous water resources and a wide diversity of fish species, the implementation of appropriate policies have not been effective enough to address the situation.
She said this poses enormous challenges to government’s effort at preserving and protecting the eco-system for the benefit of the future generations.
The Minister was speaking at the maiden forum organized by the Ghana National Committee of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (GNC-IOC) in Accra.
The event was on the theme: “Ocean Governance: the role of stakeholders”.
“It is worth noting that the fisheries subsector serves as a major source of food security, employment, wealth creation, livelihood and poverty alleviation etc and it employs 2.4 million of the population from boat owners, boat builders, fishers, processors and other ancillary jobs,” she said.
Ms Aryeetey said the Ministry had undertaken some initiatives by collaborating with stakeholders to develop a five year medium term National Fisheries Resource Management Plan to halt the over-exploitation of the marine resources.
The five year plan, she said, would promote co-management for effective protection of the marine environment; promote research into topical issues relating to sustainability and effective enforcement of fisheries laws and plan implementation so as to achieve the intended results.
She said it is important to manage and protect the marine environment for the benefit of the people without compromising the health if the ocean.
Dr Joseph A.Ampofo, Chairman, (GNC-IOC) said life and survival of populations of many African coastal states depend very much on ocean and coastal environments and their resources hence the need for the sustainable management and development of these resources.
Prof. P.K Ofori-Danso, Department of Marine and Fisheries Science, said more needs to be done to ensure that the utilization of the nations aquatic resources.
He said a survey had shown that there were 18 species of dolphins and whales in West Africa and Ghana is rich with all the 18 species yet the sector had not made the needed impact on the economy.
“This is the area Ghana needs to exploit since these animals when well protected will promote eco-tourism”, he said.
He said the activities of some fisher folks, oil drilling companies, mining and other human activities are killing valuable aquatic resources like sharks and whales and this could hinder the growth of the industry.
He said more attention be given to the sector since this is the cash crop for some developing countries.