Let’s establish authority for blue economy – Prof. Aheto

A Professor of Coastal Ecology and Interdisciplin­ary Oceans Studies at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Prof. Denis Worlanyo Aheto, has called for the establishment of an authority for the country’s blue economy to maximise the benefits of ocean resources.

The blue economy, also known as the ocean economy, is a term used to describe the economic ac­tivities associated with the oceans and seas.

• Prof. Denis Aheto
• Prof. Denis Aheto

The nation’s ocean governance systems, he said had not been given the attention as an important sector saying that, there was a gap in coordination between a number of government organs without the needed focus on blue economy.

According to him, government agencies such as the Maritime Authority, Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Transport, and the Environmental Protection Agency among others work differently without clear-cut focus on the blue economy.

He explained that, even though some countries on the African con­tinent were establishing ministries for blue economy, Ghana could still optimise the opportunities that the sector provides in the area of energy, transportation, tourism and other benefits.

Prof. Aheto, who is the Director of the Centre for Coastal Man­agement at UCC made the call at an inaugural lecture held at the campus of the University of Cape Coast.

He was speaking on the topic: “Our oceans: securing our com­mon future through transforma­tive research.”

He explained that, the authority for blue economy after its estab­lishment, could harness technical capacities and also formulate na­tional policy to advance the cause of blue economy in the country.

He stated that “there are significant opportunities that the oceans provide us under the blue economy in fisheries, maritime, tourism, marine energy, and other business activities within the ma­rine environment.”

“The marine environment pro­vides renewable energy which we can tap from and it can signifi­cantly transform the continent if we look at the economic resource potential of about $130 billion which we can harness if we are effective at that,” he said.

Prof. Aheto also said “there are opportunities in marine transport and logistics, marine biotechnolo­gy and other untapped opportuni­ties in the ocean.”

The market value of marine and coastal resources, he said was estimated at the value of $3 tril­lion per year and said developing countries access to the ocean and shorelines allows them to attract foreign direct investment and direct industry production within the space.

He said 80 per cent of tourism occurs in coastal areas, saying “the Ocean related tourism industry grows at an estimation of $133 billion every year.”

For states to utilise ocean resources, he indicated that, the global community must work together in protecting the oceans, saying “It is estimated that the loss of tourism due to coral bleaching alone is as much as $12 billion annually.”

Prof. Aheto further stated that, the oceans provide 50 per cent of the oxygen in the world and said it was disheartening to witness the level of pollution that occurred in the oceans.

He noted that, 38 out of the 55 countries in the African continent were coastal, and said it provides enormous opportunities for the transformation of the continent

“For Africa to be able to ben­efit from the sector, he said there was the need for the continent to build the needed human capital with the aim of increasing the human development index, so as to meet the goals of the Arica Agenda 2063,” he indicated.

Prof. Aheto further stated that the challenge of Illegal, Unre­ported and Unregulated (IUU) activities in the fisheries sector was the bane of development in the African continent, saying “we do not care about the sea, we don’t put in the needed resources to enforce some of these issues in the area of marine pollution, sea piracy among others.”

He argued that, West Africa was losing nearly 1.5 metres of its shoreline annually.


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