Ocean Restoration – Environment – Graphic Online

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been implementing projects for many years aimed at increasing productivity in the fish and fisheries sector.

The CSIR-Food Research Institute and the CSIR-Water Research Institute have been at the forefront of these endeavors.

These projects are under the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST). MEST is currently made up of CSIR, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), the Department of Town and Country Planning, and a project called the Guinea Current Great Marine Ecosystem (GCLME).

This UN project, GCLME is designed to formulate policies and actions to eliminate the causes of serious degradation of coastal environments, associated watersheds, biodiversity loss and food insecurity.

The first meeting of the Ministerial Committee for the Gulf of Guinea Great Marine Ecosystem Project (GOG-LME) was held in Accra, Ghana, in July 1998. At its second meeting in Accra this year, the Committee of Environment Ministers accepted Ghana’s offer to host the new regional body.

The project, which was originally initiated by the governments of six countries, now covers 16 countries affected by the large marine ecosystem of the Gulf of Guinea that is part of the GCLME.

The original countries were Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon. Coastal and Marine Environment The Guinea Current’s large marine ecosystem is vital to the social and economic development of 16 countries, all of which are affected by the Guinea Current.

Other countries now participating in the project are Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa and Angola.

coast line

The GCLME extends from Guinea-Bissau to Angola, approximately 5,560 kilometers of coastline, a marine area of ​​approximately 350,000 square kilometers, and 2.6 million square kilometers of total exclusive economic zones.

It is one of the richest marine resources in the world, home to about 239 species of fish. It is constantly polluted from terrestrial and marine sources such as industrial waste and associated human activity is eroding coastlines.

These factors, along with resource depletion, are destroying vital coastal habitats, flora and fauna. The present Guinea Commission may be best positioned to lead the protection of this region of vital importance to tens of millions of its inhabitants.

Apart from the original six countries, the other countries now involved in the project are Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa and Angola.

The project aims to help countries, acting collectively, protect the estimated 300 million inhabitants of Guinea’s current region (half of whom live on the coast) from environmental degradation, food insecurity, depletion of fish stocks and from land-based pollution.

Fisherman

“For the average fisherman and fish consumer on the coast of Guinea, it is hoped that the application of the large marine ecosystem approach will lead to the restoration of fishing yields, the reduction of pollution, the improvement of human health and the rehabilitation of the coastal environment To come to equilibrium with rapid population increase with resulting urban agglomerations as well as increasing industrialization, especially emerging oil and gas production.

“The end result will be the integrated use of marine and coastal resources on a sustainable basis even in the face of the inevitable impacts of climate change.”

LME is a method for managing large areas of the ocean with distinct ecosystems based on topography, water depths, currents, productivity, and food chain interactions.

Of the 64 known large marine ecosystems in the world, seven are located in Africa: Agulhas, Benguela, Canary, Guinea, Mediterranean, Red Sea, and Somalia.

efforts

Efforts are aimed at transforming the Interim Commission for Present-Guinea (IGCC) that is overseeing the project, into the Permanent Current-Guinea Commission and developing the SAP Strategic Action Plan Implementation Project.

This will provide support for the transition to a state-owned, independent and permanent commission for the management of marine and coastal resources of the Guinea Current large marine ecosystem.

One of the requirements to complete the transition of the Interim Committee to a Permanent Committee is the implementation of the GCLME SAP, a negotiating document describing policies, legal and institutional procedures, and investments to address priority regional problems related to the marine environment.

Studying the LME requires resources, including Strategic Action Plans and National Action Plans. Large marine ecosystems (LMEs) produce 95 percent of the world’s fish catch, making them the focal point of global efforts to achieve predictable and sustainable productivity. Oceanographers and biologists have identified 64 LMEs worldwide.

This year, a group of African small and medium-sized entities has been formed to provide a platform for closer collaboration and discussion of common interests, and how those concerns can be addressed.

The meeting chairperson has been appointed to preside over the group for a period of one year to ensure institutional stability, after which the presidency will rotate between small and medium entities.

Policies and plans

Managing an LME requires policies and action plans as well as investments such as research and surveillance vessels and equipment.

It just so happens that the project also promotes mariculture, a specialized branch of aquaculture that involves the cultivation of marine organisms for food and other products in the open ocean, in an enclosed portion of the ocean, or in tanks, ponds or streams filled with seawater.

Sterilization and restoration of the marine environment is conceptually well done. We should be concerned, among other things, about toxic waste dumping on our beaches and oil spills.

The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has caused much concern from the US government, environmentalists and fishermen whose lives are being threatened. We need to be concerned about our seas, too.

There is no doubt that the GCLME project will produce plenty of spin-offs for the region. It is gratifying to note that Ghana is hosting the projects. It will succeed, if there is political support from the governments of the region as well as the people.

The authors are with the Food Research Institute of the Scientific and Industrial Research Council.

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