Accra, Feb. 6, GNA - Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Fisheries, said on Monday that Ghana had adopted the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) management operations to help to safeguard the maritime environment. "I must admit and indicate from the onset that the concepts of EEZ management and operations have assumed centre stage in maritime security and economic management consideration of all littoral States," she said. Speaking at the maiden EEZ management and operations course being organized by the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC) at Teshie, near Accra, Mrs Asmah observed that the EEZ had enormous opportunities and challenges for the country.
These include the recognition of the exclusive rights for the exploitation of the extensive sea areas of 64,000 square nautical miles for Ghana.
She stated that the efficient and effective management of the EEZ would facilitate the protection of Ghana's national resources and interest.
However, the efficient management of Ghana's EEZ to meet strategic and operational objectives is also reliant on good intra-government co-operation.
The EEZ extends sovereignty up to 200 nautical miles for the exploitation, conservation and management of natural resources. The concept empowers coastal States like Ghana to take authoritative fishery management decisions which control not only the behaviour of the country's nationals but that of all other States as well. The Minister said records indicated that 90 per cent of all fish currently caught in the ocean were harvested within 200 nautical miles off shore, well within the EEZ, adding that over 80 per cent of the world's known and estimated hydrocarbon reserves were found in this zone.
Hence, systematic EEZ management and control should involve activities such as the management of maritime resources, maintenance of law and order at sea, safety of navigation and transit, safety of life and property at sea and the protection and preservation of the marine environment.
She said the introduction of the course was very relevant and appropriate because it would ensure more professional and holistic understanding of EEZ management and operations by all stakeholders and further engender the political will needed to consider favourable decisions affecting the effective and efficient protection of the enormous resources in the EEZ.
The course, the first of its kind to be run by the GAFCSC is organized in partnership with the British Military Assistance Training Team in Ghana. It is aimed at providing stakeholders with a better background knowledge and understanding of the issues involved in EEZ management and operations required by professional maritime practitioners, affiliates, as well as other important decision makers. It is bringing together key actors in EEZ management to gain skills to increase their efficiency and effectiveness in the management and exploitation of the resources offered by the EEZ.
Participants are drawn from Parliament, the Ministry of Justice, Attorney General Department, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Fisheries. The others are from General Headquarters of the GAF, Navy, Air Force, Police, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service, Immigration Service and Tema Oil Refinery.
Rest include the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GAFCSC Naval and Air Force students, Ghana Bar Association, National Media Commission and Department of Oceanography of the University of Ghana, Legon.