Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, also the Flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has highlighted the Government's commitment to tackling the degradation of Ghana's coastal landscape through various interventions and measures.
Speaking at the Third Biennial Conference on Fisheries and Coastal Environment in Accra on Monday, Dr. Bawumia underscored the critical importance of safeguarding the nation's coastline, despite the numerous benefits derived from its oceans.
The Vice President acknowledged that the degradation posed a substantial threat to the sustainability of these benefits.
This degradation primarily encompasses coastal erosion caused by rising sea levels and pollution stemming from municipal waste, including plastics, as well as chemical contamination resulting from illegal mining activities.
Dr Bawumia also mentioned the overexploitation of fisheries resources through illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices.
He expressed concern over the deterioration of the nation's ocean and its resources, attributing it to a combination of anthropogenic and natural factors.
The Vice President then outlined the steps taken by the Government to address these issues and ensure the sustainable management of the 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 stated.
“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 these efforts, the Government hosted a two-day maiden National Blue Economy Summit in Accra in May/June, with the theme: “Our Ocean's Health, Our Prosperity, Our Planet's Security.”
Furthermore, Ghana has embarked on activities to combat IUU fishing in its waters. Dr Bawumia explained, “We are seriously regulating the licenses of foreign fishing vessels, especially their fishing gear, fishing areas, and whether they possess valid licenses.”
He revealed that some foreign vessels had already been denied licenses, and the government has introduced digitisation of the pre-mix fuel system to streamline its distribution, reducing issues like hoarding and diversion.
Efforts to reduce the number of boats in the artisanal fishing sector, following African Union recommendations, have also commenced. Dr. Bawumia underscored the ocean's potential for accelerating development and enhancing the well-being of Ghana's citizens.
“Ghana, with its extensive coastline, is committed to leading the charge towards a sustainable and inclusive Blue Economy.”
The Third Biennial Conference on Fisheries and Coastal Environment, organised by the Centre for Coastal Management – Africa Centre of Excellence in Coastal Resilience (CCM-ACECoR) at the University of Cape Coast, with strategic partners such as the World Bank, WACA, USAID, and the Vulnerability to Viability Global Partnership, revolved around the theme: “Inclusive Blue Economy in Africa: Towards Sustainable Transformation and Resilience of the Marine Environment.”