President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed concerns over the continuous decline of the oceans in the world.
The President fears the continuous decline can have far-reaching implications on job creation, poverty alleviation, livelihoods, and economic stability if not addressed.
“This God given asset faces existential threat, largely from pollution and over exploitation and we need to take decisive action now to safeguard the oceans’ capacity to regenerate and to continue to deliver substantial economic, environmental and social value for human development,” he said.
The President said this in Accra yesterday when he opened the 7th meeting of the ministers in charge of Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).
The two-day ministerial meeting, hosted by Ghana’s Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, brought together leading fisheries professionals and practitioners.
They will share national and regional best practices and identify collaborative approaches for replication in other members of the OACPS for the sustainable development and growth of its fisheries and aquaculture sector.
The meeting is on the theme “OACPS’s Blue Economy Agenda 2030 – Catalysing Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Development for the Future.”
President Akufo-Addo called on members of the OACPS to take decisive and urgent measures to reverse the ocean’s accelerating decline.
He said although the ocean served as an important resource to human existence and was inexplicably linked to the health of people, the ocean faced imminent challenges that needed to be resolved by all stakeholders.
President Akufo-Addo observed that the ocean and its resources had sustained key economic sectors such as fisheries, tourism and transport in OACP member states.
Small island developing states in some African states within the OACPS had particularly deep relations with the ocean as their economic wellbeing, he said.
President Akufo-Addo told the meeting that the existential threat posed by climate change to the ocean and marine environmental resource called for the speedy implementation of the PARIS agreement on climate change.
“Our survival depends on a common resolve that includes our united voice, we are victims of rising sea levels, desertification, flooding, cyclones, overgrazing and migration. Arable land is dwindling, and conflicts have arisen out of these disasters, animals are dying from drought. We have to work together to protect our regions and the planet”.
The Secretary General of the OACPS, Mr Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti said the ocean was critical to supporting food security and the economies of many nations in the world.
According to him, OACPS would play its role in promoting cooperation and coordination needed to revive the ocean.
Fisheries and Aquaculture minister, Mavis Hawa Koomson expressed concerns over the rate of degradation of the marine ecosystems and the effects of climate change.
She stressed the urgent need to adopt measures to enhance the attainment of sustainable fisheries, and the realisation of the full benefits of ocean resources.
BY YAW KYEI