Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo on Thursday inaugurated a new fisheries research vessel, calling for an end to illegal fishing methods and the over-exploitation of the country’s marine resources.

He said the two cannot continue, as they threaten the very essence of the country’s existence.

Over the years, and especially in recent times, nearly all of Ghana’s marine fisheries and some inland fisheries have been overfished.

This is buttressed by the last stock survey conducted in April 2016, which shows that sardines, the dominant fish stock, are disappearing from Ghanaian waters.

Although population growth can be said to be a contributory factor, the “twin-evils” of illegal fishing and the over-exploitation of marine resources have worsened the already dire situation.

According to the president, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) methods are depleting Ghana’s fish stocks, with the beautiful coastal wetlands threatened by high volumes of plastic and metal waste that choke breeding habitats for fish.

He noted that his government is committed to eliminating pollution on Ghana’s coast, and significantly reducing pollution in the marine ecosystem by 2025, by tackling the current challenges posed by plastics use and indiscriminate disposal of waste.

Additionally, Ghana aims to complete the assessment of ecologically sensitive areas along its coast and designate its first marine protected area by 2025, to safeguard coastal and marine biodiversity.

“We recognize that the wealth of resources that oceans provide forms an important part of the common heritage of mankind, and we owe it to ourselves and to succeeding generations to conserve this natural heritage,” he said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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