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11.01.2006 General News

Effective mgt of coastal resources necessary

By GNA

Accra, Jan. 11, GNA - Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Fisheries, on Wednesday opened the second conference on:"Ecosystem Based Approach to Coastal Management in Ghana", with a renewed call for the effective management of coastal resource.

She called on district assemblies along the coast to enact bylaws that would streamline the activities of people living along the coast, stressing: "As a nation, there is the need for us to recognise the limits that the sea could provide us with its resources and the need for a sustainable use.

"Ghana's coastline is a valuable resource. Coastal communities depend on the coastal ecosystem for food, employment and recreation. It is vital that this precious resource is preserved for future generations," she said.

Mrs Asmah said the need to manage and preserve the coastal resource was a fundamental principle and an obligation under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which Ghana ratified in 1983.

Since the ratification of the Convention, there were still some major elements of the fisheries management that were yet to be implemented in Ghana's waters, she said. Mrs Asmah pledged the Ministry's preparedness with the 17 districts along the coast to enact and enforce laws that would make Ghana compliant with UNCLOS.

The day's conference was organised by the Department of Oceanography and Fisheries of the University of Ghana (UG) in collaboration with the University of Newcastle, United Kingdom with support from the Department for Internation Development (DFID) under the management of the British Council's Higher Education Link programmes in Accra.

It will present findings from a joint research by the two universities started since 2003.

Mrs Asmah said despite the fundamental understanding of fisheries as apart of the ecosystem, the nation was still struggling to manage fish harvests.

She said addressing the problem required a concerted approach by all stakeholders, pledging the Ministry's support in the endeavour. "We expect that the ecosystem-base fishery management will contribute to the stability of employment and economic activity in the fishing industry and to the protection of marine biodiversity on which fisheries depend," she said.

Professor Clifford Nii Boi Tagoe, Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, said environmental issues were multi-faceted, with ecological, legal, social, economic, political and ethical dimensions that needed to be treated simultaneously.

He said it was for this reason that the ecosystem-based management, the new approach to managing the human exploitation of natural resources was most welcomed.

"It is expected that under this approach, users and other stakeholders such as environmentalists, policy makers and scientists will share ideas to improve the equality and fairness of management," he said.

Citing the extent of pollution of the Korle Lagoon, Prof Tagoe urged the stakeholders to come out with a strategic solution to the degradations.

Mr A. K. Armah, Head, Department of Oceanography and Fisheries, University of Ghana, said the Department had made tremendous progress within the past decade and half to become one of the lead marine science learning and research centres in the West Africa Sub-Region. Prof. George T. Odamtten, Dean of the Faculty of Science, UG, and chairman for the occasion, called for a change of attitude that contradicted the promotion of sustainable development. He said environmental problems did not know party colours, but rather national identities hence the need for all to join hands in finding solutions to the environmental problems that confronted the nation.

He said globalisation and sustainability were complementary and needed to be promoted equally.

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