The National Fisheries Association of Ghana (NAFAG) has said that having a Marine Spatial Plan will help protect the gains of Ghana’s blue economy and it is non-negotiable.
Mr Richster Nii Amarh Amarfio, NAFAG Secretary said for Ghana to harness the full benefits of its marine space, there was the need to plan the maritime space to avoid conflicts and other activities that destroy the maritime environment and underutilize the blue economy.
Mr Amarfio said at a media platform dubbed: “Blue Gold: Ghana’s Economic Transformer,” initiated by the Ghana News Agency, Tema Regional Office to serve as holistic journalistic engagement with players and other stakeholders in the blue economy space.
The NAFAG Secretary said the blue economy covered not only the ocean and activities related to it, but also every natural water body including underground water.
He said Ghana could gain more from the blue economy if spatial planning were done, revealing that places like China was now using Tuna to prepare diabetes medicine while others use seaweeds for food due to their nutritional values.
He also added that planning would enable monitoring and regulating of the various activities in the blue economy such as traditional fishing, laying of fibre optic, and gas pipelines, exploration of oil, and gas, among others.
Mr Amarfio explained that for instance, with a spatial plan, Ghana would be able to ensure that even, if oil or gas were found around marine reserves and natural reef, they would not be destroyed for the exploration of the oil.
The NAFAG Secretary said, “you may find oil in an area, but that place might be an essential resource base, you don’t destroy it for oil activities, Canada, the Philippines, and others all protect such places.”
He said places where the fishes lay their eggs and rest, must be protected adding that the lack of a spatial plan could be attributed to the dwindling fish stock of the country.
A spatial plan, he noted could help in having a shipping lane that would affect fish’s reproductions, and proper disposal of ballast water, which if not managed well could impact negatively the marine environment.
He said proper planning must be done for the planting of oil and gas in the marine space as improper decommissioning could have dire effects on aquatic life.
Mr Amarfio added that proper disposal of waste must also be taken care of under the plan to help prevent pollution of the sea and other water bodies.
“We must identify all the economic activities in the blue economy, plan, and know where to put what,” he stated.
Mr Francis Ameyibor, Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Manager noted that the platform was created initiate and deepen the discussion on the blue economy and serve as the medium for stakeholders in the blue economy to engage the media to project activities within the sector