Oil production threatens Ghana’s Fishing industry

Ghana is losing its fishing resources due to the emergence of the oil and gas industry that has set lots of restrictions on fishing activities around safety zones of oil installations.

There is also the potential collapse of the fishing industry due to the restrictions as well as attraction of fish to light that surrounded the oil installations, Mr Solomon Kusi Ampofo, Project Officer of Friends of the Nations (FON), said at a media sensitisation forum in Accra.

The forum was organised by (FON), an environmental policy advocacy non-governmental organization, to discuss the livelihood and environmental issues under Ghana’s Petroleum Industry.

Mr Ampofo said close monitoring and studying of the fishing industry in recent times revealed the need for Ghana to protect its fishing industry since it provided employment to some 2.5 million Ghanaians, about 10 per cent of the population.

Ghanaians also depend a lot on fish as a source of food as it has more than 310 fish landing sites, with 80 sites in the Western Region alone.

Mr Ampofo said the oil industry had now brought about competition of marine space for fish and biodiversity while pollutants like bitumen spillages occurred in Axim, Mangyea, Metika, Ngyensia, and Asemkow areas of the Western Region.

He said there had been an inundation of “sangassum,” a brown sea weed that had been spotted by fishermen which were previously not there, prior to the oil production.

Destruction of canoes and fishing gears of fishermen due to collision with oil vessels were also a major problem for the fisher folk.

Mr Richster Amarfio of Convener Fisheries Alliance, another NGO, appealed to the Ministry of Fisheries to properly manage the fishing sector so that Ghanaians would continuously enjoy fish.

He said Ghana had no maritime policy as at now to look at the maritime transport, with hotels sited at beaches which interfered with the fishing industry, adding that “a general maritime policy is needed to cater for all these issues”.

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