The MOU is the second phase of the EAF Nansen Project, which offers an opportunity to coastal countries in sub-Africa to receive technical support from FAO for the development of national frameworks for the implementation of the ecosystem approach to fisheries.
This would pave the way to consolidate the cordial relationship existing between the various agencies to facilitate the second phase.
Dr Abebe Haile Gabriel, the Regional Programme Leader for Africa and FAO Representative, at the signing event said the Nansen project was implemented since December 2006 to help address the weaknesses in fisheries management.
It sought to identify interventions that would create opportunity for long term transformational and sustainable change in coastal countries.
He said the presence of the vessel in the waters of beneficiary countries, including Ghana has helped acquire greater understanding of the need to properly manage marine resources.
Dr Gabriel said even with these interventions the project was still confronted with challenges, including weak human capacities and systems for information collection and analysis.
The second phase of the survey involves more than 80 participants from African countries, including Ghana and scientists from universities in Norway.
He said the general misconception that the oceans was so vast that people’s contribution to pollution were negligible must be reversed.
The 2017 work plan includes a new vessel to explore waters beginning from 21 July to 13 September.
Ghana is the last country to be surveyed and security is necessary for the smooth completion of the project, he said.
He said it was, therefore, necessary for all the steps for the survey to be taken for smooth operations as this would help formulate policies for the rational exploitation of fish resources.
Mrs Elizabeth Afoley-Quaye, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, said the second phase titled: Supporting the application of the ecosystem approach to fisheries management- considering climate and pollution impacts would be taking place from 2017-2021.
She said it had been envisaged that the project would build on the experiences from previous phases and with more concerted efforts at addressing issues such as global climatic variability, in fluctuations among others.
Mrs Afoley-Quaye said the Nansen project would help address the weaknesses in fisheries management and also identify interventions that would create opportunities for long term transformational and sustainable change in coastal countries.
The Minister said Ghana was willing to operate in this regard by ensuring the research vessels’ safety and security in executing her mandate.
She said the research vessel would come in September as it is still going through the formality stages and it would be a good opportunity for university graduates in the sector to understand the field more.
She noted that before the project starts an announcement would be made to the public especially the fisher folks to be aware of the vessels’ operations.
She expressed gratitude to the Norwegian Government for the support, the Institute of Marine Research, the FAO and other related UN agencies for the initiating the second phase of the project which would incorporate climate variability and pollution of the oceans.