Seaweeds crippling fishing activities on Ghana’s West Coast

The invasion of a seaweed, called Sargassum, along the West Coast of Ghana is threatening fishing activities and crippling the local economy.

This was in a petition issued and signed by the Leader of the Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group and Convener of the Committee of Concerned Citizens of Nzema, Madam Elizabeth Allua Vaah, to the Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah.

The situation, the petition said, had affected fishing expeditions and threatened the livelihoods of fishermen, fishing communities and those in the fishing value-chain for two months running.

Over the past eight weeks, the weeds, which piled up along the coast had seen a gradual increase in size and area of coverage, carpeting the shoreline and making it dangerous for children and adults to have access to the sea, it said.

“From the coast of New Town on Ghana’s border with La Cote D’Ivoire to Dixcove in the Western Region, this brownish weed has carpeted the shoreline, making it dangerous for children and adults alike to have access to the sea,” the petition said.

Apart from the danger, the brownish seaweed had brought economic activity to a halt along the coast since 60 per cent of the people depended directly or indirectly on the sea for fishing and related activities.

The same phenomenon had also had its toll on tourism activities in the area, the petition said.

It expressed worry over the lack of interest or information from institutions; national, regional and local, in the face of the disturbing phenomenon.

“Though officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have come around and taken samples, there has been no feedback on what they found,” the petition said.

It asked the Western Regional Minister to take urgent steps to get all the relevant agencies and organisations to act to resolve the problem, which was affecting the livelihoods of the communities.

The petition urged the EPA to share its findings with the public and indicate the actions to be taken to deal with the issue in the short and long term.

It asked the Ellembelle District, Nzema-East and Jomoro Municipall assemblies to engage the local people to explain steps to get rid of the weeds from the shores.

Also, the three assemblies must be adequately resourced by the Government to compel the oil companies operating along the Nzema coastline to undertake the necessary environmental clean-up.

These companies include ENi, VITOL, GNPC, Tullow Oil, Ghana Gas, the petition said, some of which had been helpful to the communities through their corporate social responsibilities.

It urged the Members of Parliament of the affected communities to show keen interest in dealing with the situation and find a lasting solution to it.

The petition was copied to the Executive Secretary of the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo, the Board Chairman of GNPC, Mr Freddie Blay, EPA, NADMO, MMDCES, MPs and the Jubilee partners.

Source: GNA

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