Establish an authority to manage Blue Economy in Ghana - Prof Aheto to govt

Science Establish an authority to manage Blue Economy in Ghana - Prof Aheto to govt
NOV 10, 2023 LISTEN

Prof Denis Worlanyo Aheto, a professor of Coastal Ecology and Interdisciplinary Oceans Studies, has called for the establishment of a Blue Economy Authority to optimise Ghana’s ocean resources.

He said the ocean presented a multibillion-dollar blue economy with endless opportunities in energy, food, transportation, tourism, and biotechnology, which could transform the economic fortunes of Ghana and Africa.

Prof Aheto, also the Director, Centre for Coastal Management, University of Cape Coast (UCC), made the remarks in his inaugural lecture, on the theme: “Our oceans: Securing our common future through transformative research”.

The lecture seeks to rekindle marine and coastal environmental stewardship in Ghana and Africa as a whole.

He said the sector remained untapped chiefly due to adequacies in institutional governance and human resource capacity, making way for exploitation by foreigners to the detriment of the development of the Continent.

“Other countries are establishing ministries but we need an authority,” he noted.

“Sustainable marine livelihoods are crucially dependent on well-functioning coastal and marine systems that are central to the economic growth of the African Continent.”

He highlighted the resource potential of the ocean economy while emphasising the challenges confronting interdisciplinary research into the sector.

Prof Aheto entreated African countries to take deliberate steps to build the needed human capital and work closely together if they were to get the maximum benefit from the ocean resources.

The untapped opportunities in the blue economy were exacerbated by human activities, which polluted the sea and degraded its surroundings.

“Fishermen are catching more plastics than fish today, and the sizes of fish are going down.”

“In West Africa, we are losing 1.5 meters of our shoreline every year,” he noted, expressing worry over the least funding of the SDG 14, which sought to protect life below water, making it far from realisation.

Touching on transformative research, Prof Aheto stressed the need for researchers to build international partnerships to produce quality research for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans resources.

He urged them to look beyond research allowances and engage policymakers and other relevant agencies to mobilise funding.

Touting some achievements of the Centre for Coastal Management, which was established to promote sustainability, he said they had introduced new courses, offered scholarships, and produced some 149 publications in less than five years.

Prof Aheto was first appointed lecturer in 2009, became a senior lecturer in 2012, graduated to an associate professor in 2017 before becoming a professor in 2020.

Among other achievements, he has trained more than 250 professionals in ocean related topics.