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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Norwegian research vessel assesses Ghana’s fish resources, marine pollution –

A Norwegian Research Vessel (RV) has com­pleted a survey in Ghana’s territo­rial waters aimed at assessing the country’s stock of fish resources, and gathering data on marine pollution levels.

The Dr Fridtjof Nansen vessel conducted the assessment as part of the 2024 Trans-boundary Demersal and Pelagic Resources Survey, a 30-day marine ecosys­tem research within the Gulf of Guinea.

Named after a renowned Nor­wegian ocean researcher, the vessel is owned by the Norwegian Agen­cy for Development Cooperation and manned by the University of Bergen’s Institution of Marine Research.

It is central to the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF)- Nansen Programme, a partnership with Norway and 32 African/Bay of Bengal countries, to support sustainable fisheries and food security.

With eight Ghanaians among the team that conducted the research, the vessel previously visited Ghana in 1981, 2016, 2017 and 2019 to conduct similar stock assessments.

Addressing stakeholders ahead of a tour of the vessel which docked at the Tema port on Fri­day, a Deputy Minister of Fisher­ies and Aquaculture Development, Abdul-Aziz Ayaba Musah, said the report of the collaborative survey between Ghana, Norway and the UN Food and Agriculture Organi­sation (FAO) would be ready in six months.

He said the findings would pro­vide “crucial insights for policies and decisions” to address major challenges facing Ghana’s fisheries, including illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, climate change impacts, habitat loss and plastic pollution.

These issues, he said, had led to the over-exploitation of the coun­try’s fisheries resources, depletion of fish species, loss of habitat and bio­diversity, declining profitability for fishers and women fish processors, and increasing poverty in fishing communities.

Mr Musah also noted that despite efforts by the government to address these issues, the lack of a research vessel had hindered measurements of the impact of interventions.

He further expressed the gov­ernment’s gratitude to Norway for funding such surveys in developing countries for over 50 years, and to the FAO for enhancing local fisheries management capacities through initiatives like the Nansen programme.

In a speech read on his behalf, the UN Resident Coordinator, Charles Abani, said although Africa’s fisheries were key to food and jobs, they remained underutilised with an op­portunity for sustainable, inclusive development for which reason the UN would continue to support countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals connected to the ocean.

A representative from the FAO Africa Office, David Phiri, said through the EAF-Nansen pro­gramme, the aim of the FAO is to help countries build capacity for sustainable aquatic food systems that contribute to food security and nutrition was becoming a reality.

The Deputy Head of Mission at the Norwegian Embassy in Ghana, Kyree Holm, expressed his coun­try’s commitment to supporting the sustainable management of marine resources.

The Research Vessel, has since Saturday, which was World Ocean Day, started another survey to test trawl gear configurations in order to improve bottom trawl fishery

Source: ghanaiantimes.com.gh

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