Oil Production Threatens Fishing Industry

Ghana is losing it 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 a potential collapse of the fishing industry due to the restrictions as well as attraction of fish to light that surrounds 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 organisation, 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 has revealed the need for Ghana to protect its fishing industry since it provides employment to some 2.5 million Ghanaians, about 10 percent 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 has now brought about competition for marine space of fish and biodiversity, while pollutants like bitumen spillages have occurred in the Axim, Mangyea, Metika, Ngyensia, and Asemkow areas of the Western Region.

He said there has been an inundation of “sangassum”, a brown sea-weed that has been reported by fishermen, which was not there prior to oil production.

Destruction of canoes and fishing gear of fishermen due to collisions with oil vessels are 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 will continuously enjoy fish.

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