Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has highlighted several policy interventions the government has undertaken to control the degradation of Ghana’s coastal landscape.
Speaking at the third Biennial Conference on Fisheries and Coastal Environment in Accra on Monday, Dr Bawumia said despite the endless benefits the country gets from the ocean, degradation continues to threaten its sustainability and benefits.
The degradation includes coastal erosion caused by sea level rise and pollution from municipal waste such as plastic and chemical pollution from illegal mining activities.
It also involves over-exploitation of fisheries resources through illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The Vice President, who lamented how the health of our ocean and its accompanying resources have been rapidly deteriorating “as a result of both anthropogenic and natural causes,” also outlined steps the government has undertaken to address the problem and ensure a sustainable ocean economy.
“In recent times, the Government of Ghana has embarked on various activities to ensure sustainable ocean management. The first of the activities was the president joining the high-level panel for a sustainable ocean economy,” Dr Bawumia noted.
“The ocean panel as it is called is a special global initiative of 17 world leaders who pledged themselves to a new ocean programme to work at attaining a sustainable ocean economy. To strengthen this effort, a two-day maiden National Blue Economy Summit was held in Accra in May/June 2023 under the theme “Our Ocean’s Health, Our Prosperity, Our Planet’s Security.
“Secondly, the government has approved a loan of $150 million from the World Bank on the West Africa Coastal Area (WACA) programme to stem the tide of coastal degradation occurring in our coastal areas.
“Also, the government has begun various activities to fight illegal unreported and unregulated fishing in our waters. We are seriously regulating the license of foreign fishing vessels, especially their fishing gear, where they fish and whether they have licenses or not. Some of these foreign vessels have been denied licenses already. We have also digitised the access to pre-mix fuel for artisanal fishing activities,” he said.
The introduction of a digitised premix fueling station, Dr Bawumia said, was meant to automate the pre-mix fuel system to reduce issues such as hoarding, politicisation and diversion amongst others.
He added that the government has also begun efforts to reduce the number of boats in the artisanal fishing sectors.
“Just like the Africa Union and taking from the AU submissions, our government believes that the ocean presents a huge opportunity to accelerate development and improve upon the well-being of the people of this country. Ghana, with its extensive coastline, is committed to leading the charge towards a sustainable and inclusive Blue Economy,” Dr Bawumia said.
The third Biennial Conference on Fisheries and Coastal Environment was under the theme: “Inclusive Blue Economy in Africa: Towards Sustainable Transformation and Resilience of the Marine Environment.”
It was organised by the Centre for Coastal Management – Africa Centre of Excellence in Coastal Resilience (CCM-ACECoR) of the University of Cape Coast and other strategic partners, including the World Bank, WACA, USAID, Vulnerability to Viability Global Partnership and others
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD