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16.12.2004 Regional News

Workshop on aquatic ecosystem and fisheries opens

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Accra, Dec. 16, GNA- A two-day workshop to identify research priorities in aquatic ecosystems and fisheries in the Volta River Basin and to enhance livelihoods through improved management of living aquatic resources opened in Accra on Thursday.

Research Scientists from Ghana, Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire are attending the workshop being organized by the Challenge Programme on Water and Food (CPWF) and the Ghana Water Research Institute to exchange information on key issues concerning management of aquatic ecosystem and fisheries.

It is also to develop a network of scientists and practitioners within the basins.

Burkina Faso and Ghana are the most endowed with rich variety of aquatic ecosystems including rivers, floodplains, reservoirs, lakes, small irrigation impoundments, other wetlands and aquaculture ponds. Dr V.V. Sugunan, the team Leader of CPWF, said the main goal of the CPWF, which operates in nine river basins, was to create partnership among community of researchers and build capacity in water management. He said the CPWF was a new global initiative launched in 2002 to foster food and environmental security by increasing the productivity of water used in agriculture and allied activities.

Dr Sugunan said improving water productivity in the basin by enhancing the benefits derived from the ecosystems was the prime concern of the CPWF, which is currently funding 11 research projects in the Volta Basin. It is also exploring areas where further research investment could be made.

Mr Eddie Akita, Minister of State in charge of Fisheries, said at a time when 3,000.01 cubic metres of water was needed to produce a kilogram of rice, water resources were increasingly being degraded and destroyed in the name of development.

He said in general, about one-eighth of the surface of the Volta Basin was needed to do aquaculture and food production without degrading the water resources.

He, therefore, called for the review of water policies and institutions that managed them to balance the water-need equation to produce more food than has usually been the case.

Dr Charles Biney, Director of the Water Research Institute (WRI), urged participants to have in mind other activities already happening at the Volta Basin and discuss them fully to achieve the goals of the workshop.

He announced that plans were underway to form a Volta Basin Organization to collect all research and scientific information on the basin.

Eleven thematic review papers on various aspects of aquatic ecosystems and fisheries in the three countries would be presented and discussed.

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