A Lecturer of Marine Geochemistry at the Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences of the University of Ghana, Dr. Edem Mahu, has asked government to pay crucial attention and invest in the fisheries and aquaculture sector to ensure sustainability.
According to her, there’s the need for sustainable management of the country’s ecosystem as well as improve the livelihoods of people living in and around communities in the wetlands.
“As a country, I believe that we need to start giving a lot of attention to our water bodies. I have been in this program for quiet sometime now and what I have come to realize is that we don’t put value on our water bodies. We don’t invest in the system,” she said.
Speaking on the on-air series of the Citi Business Festival on the topic ‘Ocean, Health and Food security -Driving growth through marine research’, Dr. Mahu highlighted the negative impact of pollution on aquaculture and how innovative means can be used to address the challenge.
“Plastics can take so many years to degrade. So when they get into the oceans, they get broken down when they are exposed to the UV radiation and waves which breaks them further into very tiny plastics. These plastics remain in the system for long. What happens is that, the fishes in the ocean are later polluted when they take in these plastics that float in the water bodies,” she explained.
She further reiterated the need for government support for marine scientists in the country to find solutions to the country’s aquaculture problems.
“First of all, we need to give research a priority. We need to invest more in the research. I am speaking for my area. There may be other sectors that the government is probably doing well, but when it comes to marine science, it is very unpopular. When you take the coastal environment for example, you have many marine scientists, but nobody really invests in any research in Marine Science in this country.”
“Funds for every single research I have done came from international donors. I do not get funding locally to do the things I am discovering about our water bodies and ecosystem. We always have to look for money from outside to conduct all the research we do to address problems in our countries,” she added.
The fishery sector in Ghana principally encompasses marine fishery, inland (fresh water) fishery and aquaculture fishery as well as related activities in fish storage, preservation, marketing and distribution.
Fisheries also constitute an important sector in national economic development. The sector is estimated to contribute 3 % of the total GDP and 5 % of the GDP in agriculture.
About 10 % of the country’s population is engaged in various aspects of the fishing industry.