Ghana has 70 per cent more resources in the sea compared to land

By
Eunice Hilda Ampomah, GNA

Accra, Oct. 25, GNA – Dr Kamal-Deen Ali, the
Executive Director of Centre for Maritime, Law and Security (CEMLAWS) has said
maritime is critical to national development and should be considered whenever
boundaries were being drawn to measure the landmarks within the country.

“We have not paid enough attention to maritime
and some of the few we have paid attention to, are having declining
implications including the fishery sector,” he said.

He said the sea was a resource; a medium of
transportation, exchange; information; spread of ideas; and dominium, adding
that the maritime space in Ghana was 70 per cent bigger than the land in terms
of resource availability transport.

He was addressing participants at a two-day
workshop in Accra, on global maritime relations and development in Africa
organised by the CEMLAWS in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and Regional Integration (MFARI) on Wednesday.

The workshop was for CEMLAWS to train staff of
the Sector on how to play a vital role in supporting other technical ministries
to harness the enormous potential in the maritime space.

It was also to enhance the stewardship of the
Ministry towards devising means to influence policies and operations to foster
growth in the maritime space and influence intensification of the use of
maritime resources.

Dr Ali, who is also a Retired Captain of the
Navy, said it was very important that the navy were engaged and sensitised to
take up a responsibility of protecting the maritime space effectively.

He said fisheries were vital to the
development of a nation as over 200 million people were supported by the sector
in developing countries, including in processing and related industries.

More than 1.5 billion people receive 20 per
cent or more of their animal protein from fish, rising to over 90 per cent in
some small island developing states.

Total consumption of fish in Ghana is about
one million metric tonnes per annum, and Ghana ranks among the top 10 most
consumers of fish across the globe.

Statistics have shown that 75 per cent of
annual production of fish in Ghana is consumed locally; two million people are
directly dependent on the fisheries sector, while four million people are
within the fisheries value chain in Ghana.

Dr Ali noted that it was unfortunate that the
sea was just a medium of transportation for Ghanaians while it served as a
medium of value for some countries.

He said the maritime space is inherently a foreign
relations environment and must play a role in foreign relations policy.

Mr Albert Yankey, the Chief Director of the
MFARI, said the Gulf of Guinea which had been overtaken by pirates had become
one of the highest zones of crime in the world, adding that people steal oil,
dump wastes and traffic arms there.

He said: “Many countries are now patrolling,
however, we ask ourselves if they are strictly patrolling out of good faith or
looking out for their interest.

“It is necessary to make investment in the
area of research in the maritime space. If your country’s revenue and oil are
being stolen, then what happens to your development?

Mr Yankey noted the state needed to stop over
simplifying and politicising challenges within the maritime space and devise
means to control the huge sums of revenue loss.  

He mentioned infrastructure, research tools,
strong and adequate naval force as some of the necessities to control the
challenges associated with the maritime space especially the operations of pirates.

Dr Yankey advised that collaboration between
Ghanaian Navy and that of other countries including Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire
be made to work together to control the maritime challenges.

He said: “For strange reasons, we haven’t paid
attention to maritime especially the fundamental causes of our setbacks.
Smuggling of oil costs the country GH¢100 billion and recently the country had
a crisis of tilapia death, an occurrence which was partly because our oceans
are polluted and the fishes are consuming rubbers”.

He said it was therefore necessary for actors
and stakeholders within the maritime space to be extremely careful and
sensitised to put forward forceful interventions based on convention of facts
to curb the challenges.

CEMLAWS Africa is a nongovernmental
organisation that specialises in ocean governance maritime security in Africa.
The Centre conducts research, training and policy analysis on crucial maritime
issues.  

GNA

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