Mr. Kofi Abogah, Programmes Coordinator of Ghana Coastal Resources Centre, said there has been increasing military actions in the offshore oil zone with serious harassment of fishermen, including physical assault, arrest and detention.

He said this has gone on without effective dialogue with the fishermen. The fishermen have been advised to stay 500 metres away from the rig.

?Fisheries are equally important to the economy and for the ordinary people — finding ways of reducing conflicts between fishing and oil exploration should be of paramount concern to the fisher-folk, the oil companies, government and other stakeholders,? he said.

Fishing is the mainstay of coastal economy and provides jobs to about 10% of the Ghanaian economy along the fish value chain.

In recent times, most fisher-folk have blamed low fish catch on oil exploration and production, but the fisheries statistics does not reflect or support such assertion; since 1996 there has been a steady decline in fish landings before serious commercial oil exploration started in 2007/2008.

Although there has been decline in landings over the last decade, fisheries contributed about 1.6% to agricultural gross domestic products; wealth generated from fisheries is spread and a chunk of the population benefits directly from the sector.

However, the situation is not helped by oil exploration activities along the Western coast as fishermen have to battle for the traditional marine space with eight exploration companies operating in the Tano sub-basin and nearly 50 supply companies, all of whom have become stakeholders in the marine space within a short space of time.

He noted that in-migration into coastal communities since the discovery of oil is doubling — the population is increasing within five years instead of 30 years. He said infrastructure development is out of pace with the population growth — the Sekondi-Takrodi Metropolis needs massive injections of capital and infrastructure to keep pace.

By Juliet AGUITAR, Takoradi

View the original article here


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.