Categories
Climate & Ocean Action Ocean Conservation

SOA Ghana Hub join global call for a moratorium on deep seabed mining

Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) Ghana have joined the global call for a moratorium on deep seabed mining during an African dialogue on deep seabed mining which took place last Thursday in Accra.

Commercial deep-sea mining is a new threat that looms for our already imperiled ocean. If allowed to go ahead, research shows that it would irreversibly destroy ancient deep-sea habitats, impact those who derive their livelihoods from the ocean (for example from fisheries), and risk disturbing the planet’s biggest carbon sink.

Gideon Sarpong, Hub Leader at SOA Ghana explained that deep seabed mining poses an “unjustified threat to the health of our ocean, the climate and the present and future generations.”

He also called on the Africa Group representing the continent at the International Seabed Authority to “unambiguously represent the interest of people across the continent by joining the call for a moratorium” unless and until a number of conditions around environmental harm, good governance and social license can be met.

Duncan Currie, environmental lawyer and member of the Deep-Sea Conservation Coalition also called for reforms at the International Seabed Authority, the body that is mandated to regulate deep seabed mining explaining that terrestrial mining as it currently stands can power the renewable revolution.

“The argument is made that we need these minerals for a renewable revolution but this is simply not true, you cannot say there are not enough minerals both on land and in circulation to provide the minerals we need for renewable revolution” he said, adding, “once seabed mining starts there will be a massive industrial mining on the bottom of the ocean and we will have terrestrial mining alongside. Let us be real.”

The ISA, he explained has a conflict-of-interest issue. “There is a conflict-of-interest issue at the ISA as a regulator as well as a potential beneficiary of hundreds and thousands of billions of dollars,” he said.

“This certainly needs to be addressed. We suggest a moratorium is best, backed by another implanting agreement. You will need to separate the regulator and the body the receives the royalty.”

Phil McCabe, an ocean campaigner and member of Deep-Sea Conversation Coalition also described the proposed deep seabed mining as “completely inappropriate.”

“It is completely an inappropriate activity given the dire state of the environment in general. If you look at the ocean, every measurable indicator of the ocean health is in decline and we are talking about adding another pressure, another stressor, it is crazy,” he said.

SOA African hubs ultimately aim to galvanize stakeholder support to ensure that the youth’s position on deep-seabed moratorium clearly represented by the Africa group before irreparable damage is done.

Source: SOA Ghana

Watch Video here:

Categories
Climate & Ocean Action Home News Ocean Conservation

SOA African hubs join forces in new initiative to tackle deep seabed mining

Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) network of hubs in Africa have joined forces to tackle the evolving threat of deep seabed mining which threatens the health of the ocean and the larger climate system.

Deep seabed mining if allowed will “exploit biodiverse and fragile ecosystems that will result in severe environmental impacts that we cannot fully understand, let alone predict or mitigate,” said team lead Gideon Sarpong.

The hubs in Ghana, Nigeria (Lagos) and Cameroon will hold several regional policy dialogues and deploy a campaign to ensure that decision-making processes around deep-seabed mining by the Africa group and at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) are inclusive, transparent, accountable, adequately account for intergenerational equity and ensure the protection of marine biodiversity.

Gideon Sarpong, who is also the Hub Leader in Ghana stated that, “the knowledge gap on the topic of ocean mining and its potential environmental impact on biodiversity and ecosystems must be adequately communicated to decision makers.”

“The African group representing African states at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) should consider supporting the moratorium on deep-seabed mining, for at least 10 years, in line with the UN Decade of Ocean Science” he added.

Meanwhile, Forbi Perise, SOA Africa Representative and Hub Leader in Cameroon hopes to engage more than 20 University lecturers and professors in two higher educational institutions in the DSBM African Coalition project.

“We plan to involve more than 500 students/youths in our effort in advocating for the protection of the deep blue.  Through multi stakeholder engagement our goal is get more attention towards the protection of the marine ecosystem,” he explained.

Hub Leader in Lagos, Adenike Adeiga will also use this initiative to engage key stakeholders to strengthen regulatory frameworks governing ocean mining and call for the creation of Marine Protected Areas in Nigeria.

The initiative which is expected to last until the end of the year and supported by Sustainable Ocean Alliance will ultimately galvanize stakeholder support to ensure that the youth’s position on deep-seabed moratorium is unambiguously represented by the Africa group at ISA.

By SOA African team

Categories
Climate & Ocean Action Home News SOA Ghana Fellows

Blessing Aglago writes: Together we should account for aquatic life

Fishing remains a major source of livelihood for thousands of people living around the coastal areas in West Africa. Despite this huge economic benefit, the ocean provides protecting these coastal ecosystems has not received the much-needed attention.

Among a number of illegal practices which threaten the livelihood of these fishers and aquatic life is chemical pollution.  Chemical pollution is the usage of harmful contaminated substances that affect health condition of something. Manufactured pollutants of chemicals that threaten the ocean include pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, detergents, oil, industrial chemicals, and sewage.

Pollutants from the environment have its way to the coastal areas and enters the ocean. Nutrients packed fertilizers, DDT, chemicals for fishing, insecticide’s etc eventually ends in the ocean that triggers and rob the water for oxygen and affects the life of marine organisms.  

DDT is one of the first synthetic insecticides that was developed in the 1940s and past figures have shown that as much as 25% of the worlds DDT production might have ended up in the ocean and a proportion of this has entered the marine food web.

These activities do not only affect fishers but aquatic ecosystem that is normally wipe off by the introduction of too much algae and phytoplankton with devastating consequences.

These together with other toxic waste harms the food chain of aquatic life. Aquatic life suffers when there is loss of fresh water and oxygen. We therefore are mandated as individuals to check the chemicals that we release into the environment to make sure aquatic life is protected.

By Blessing Aglago | SOA Ghana Fellow

Categories
Climate & Ocean Action Climate Change Home News

Ghana: Artisanal fishers blame dwindling fish stock on changes in climate & IUU activities

Kobina Atta has been fishing in Sekondi on the western coast of Ghana since age 20. Now at 51, he complains about the changes in the seasons, rise in sea level, and dwindling stock of fishes, having a toll on his livelihood.

“These days, the seasons have changed, we cannot differentiate between the Harmattan and the rainy seasons. It can rain today and in the next minute, the sun will be blazing. This really disrupts our activities,” he said.

This, he believes, has brought in its wake an increasing decline in fish stock and catch as fishing boats often returned from sea almost empty.

Atta, like many other artisanal fishers, has a strong conviction that changes in the climate is one of the driving forces behind the phenomenon.

Ghana’s Fisheries Sector

According to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture there are more than two million people in Ghana, or around 10 per cent of the population, who rely directly on fishing and related activities for their livelihoods.

A report published by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) in 2018 said Ghana accounts for about 11 per cent of the total artisanal canoes in West Africa with small-scale fishing employing around 80 per cent of all fishers in the country.

The EJF said widespread illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and destructive practices such as the use of dynamite, monofilament nets, DDT, and light, continually cause irreplaceable damage to marine ecosystems.

The Impact of Climate Change

In Ghana, ocean warming and acidification, arguably the two most dramatic effects of climate change on oceanographic conditions, are already wreaking havoc on those who make their living from the sea.

This is coupled with widespread IUU fishing, which spans from indiscriminate use of chemicals and explosives by canoe fishermen to increasing light fishing by both small-scale and tuna vessels.

Most fishermen complain that surface water fishes appear to be disappearing with reduction in the sizes of the fishes, attributing it to the changes in the marine environment.

The rise in sea levels has also resulted in coastal erosion, high tides in recent times, tidal waves affecting fishers, and storms making fishers unable to go for fishing expeditions as they wished.

“Nowadays we have noticed some changes in the sea. We have realised that the seawater has become warmer than it used to be,” said Atta.

Another fisherman, Samuel Tetteh, who has been fishing since age 15, said: “These days the fishes do not stay at the surface of the sea, they go deep down. You know for us in artisanal fishing, we have to see the fishes before we cast our nets, so sometimes we have to go long hours before we can see some fishes and cast our nets”.

At age 41, Tetteh said though climate change was a contributory factor, it could not be solely blamed for the decline in fish stock and mentioned engagement in light fishing among other IUU practices as other factors.

“The concentration of carbonic acid at the surface of the seawater makes it uncomfortable for fishes to stay at the surface. The fish now prefer to stay at the bottom than at the surface,” he said.

Another challenge has to do with the rise in sea levels, which the fishermen say is destroying many coastal lands.

“Sometimes we are unable to go to sea because of the high tides. We believe that the tidal waves as we have been witnessing in recent times are all as a result of changes in the climate,” Mr Tetteh said.

Nana Kweigya is a fisherman at Anomabo in the Central Region and the Chairman of the Canoe and Fishing Gear Owners Association of Ghana.

He said climate change is impacting negatively on artisanal fishing.

“Climate change has affected fisheries and continues to affect small-scale fisheries especially. There are pieces of evidence that point to the fact that it has increased acidity of the seawater and has, in turn, affected the production of fish,” he said.

Nana Kweigya said the sizes of fish had reduced and also believed that they were all as a result of global warming and climate change.

That, he said, had affected fish production because many of the eggs were destroyed long before they matured, resulting in a decline in fish stock.

Nana Kweigya explained that it was the reason fishermen had resulted to using light to attract fish before they cast their net.

“General I will say climate change is negatively impacting on fishing and limiting access to fish by artisanal fishers,” he said, and called for serious discussions on how to mitigate the impact of climate change on fishing and related activities.

However, in contrast, Mr. Socrates Segbor, the Fisheries Programmes Manager of EJF, believes that there are not enough scientific data to prove that climate change is impacting fishing.

Though he did not rule out its possible negative impact, he said the stories of the fishermen remained their opinion until they were scientifically proven.

For him, the lack of scientific data about the impact of climate change gave people the opportunity to speculate and lux about what to do to address the issues of IUU.

He, therefore, appealed to Ghana’s Fisheries Commission and other academic institutions to undertake scientific research on the impact of climate change in the fisheries sector to confirm or reject the opinions of the fishermen.

This report was supported with a micro grant from SOA Ghana

Report by Afedzi Abdullah | SOA Ghana Member

Categories
Climate & Ocean Action News SOA Ghana Fellows

Bless Aglago writes: The plastic menace in Ghana and the journey forward

Plastic pollution has become one of the biggest environmental hazards facing many countries today and Ghana’s ocean ecosystem has not been spared of its wrath.

Ghana alone generates about 1.1 million tone of plastic waste per year, of which only 5% recycled according to the World Economic Forum.

Is there not any action plan by government, non-governmental and individual to reduce the plastic waste pollution? What are the causes, possible preventions and its health complication? Did you know the enormous of mass plastic in the ocean made it to be called the 7th continent, meaning in years to come, there will be more plastic than fishes in the sea.

Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic waste in our society or community that has to do with cigarette, bottle cups, polythene bags etc.  These accumulation affect health, wildlife habitat, and humans. The sea, beaches, rivers and land of our environment are filled with plastic waste and that pave way for my story

Plastic pollution has become common in our society today especially those that live around the coastal areas such Nungua, Anloga, keta and among many others. But is it only the people living in that area that get the environment polluted by plastics and others? What is our ocean turning into? Marine pollution everywhere. What has the EPA done so far about it because in years to come there will be water scarcity due to non-stop pollution.

As a result of improper waste disposal, plastic waste from the various communities ends up in our water bodies which at the ends affect our health and the lives of fishes. The United Nations Environment Program estimate that about 15 trillion particles of micro plastic are existing in the ocean whilst 12.7 million tons of plastic waste are washed into the ocean yearly which means marine species are at danger of indigestion, suffocation and others. Thus seabirds and turtles are at higher risk always (Mambra 2020, Reddy 2018).

    Causes

Negligence; It is estimated that 80% of marine or sea litter and waste comes from land. Meaning humans are responsible for this plastic waste due to improper recycling of household waste which ends up in the ocean by wind and rain.

Secondly, natural disaster; this has to do with floods that are caused by choked gutters and improper disposable of waste that are swept into the ocean.

Fishing nets; since towns located around the coastal areas does nothing than commercial fishing it has become necessity for most part of the world to depend on fish to get the right amount of diet for their living. But at the end of the day, this commercial has contributed to plastic pollution in the ocean such that the net used in fishing is made of plastic and affect the life of marine fishes or animals

Effects

Health of human; the seafood that are eaten now and then are contaminated by plastics that end up in the ocean. According to scientists, micro plastic of 114 are found within the species of marine where 1/3 of these foods ends on the plates of human before consuming. And unfortunately, some people do not take their time in preparing this foods before consumed into our body especially the food vendors which end up affecting our health.

According to WHO in 2018 research conducted, 90% of micro plastics are found in bottle water in regards to the fact some of these plastics are picked from seashores and recycled into re-usable ones without any treatment hence water poured into this bottles are contaminated at the end of the day.

wildlife; plastics that finds their way into the ocean affect the habitat of fishes and wildlife in the ocean, sometimes, this marine animals get trapped in the various fishing net which affect their insecurity of living. due to many plastic particles that find their way into the ocean, it is unsafe for these wildlife to continue living at one place hence they keep moving from place to the other which at the end of the day, affect fishing practices.

lastly, it makes our beaches and seashore dirty; since the sea does not anything into itself, any plastic that enters the oceans find their way out at the shores that makes the surrounding unclean and affect the health those living around.

Possible measures or solution

Education; there is there need for more education to be done in order to educate people on how to handle plastic waste and proper disposal. Restaurants can also be educated concerning how their packaging etc. single use can help reduce the impact of plastic pollution in Ghana especially the capital city.

Also government policies; the policies that brought out by government should favor the least person in the society. The implementation and enforcing of country-wide policy. Either to ban or re-use policy such as pure water plastics bags, shopping bags and others.

Increased in recycling; plastics should be recycled properly without leaving any. Everything plastic should be recycled wit available machines. There can be alternative technology introduction that can help in recycling.

Producer responsibility; this has to do with producers being accountable for plastic waste on our environment. There should be regulation of re-usage and compulsory take back programs.

 Article by Bless Aglago | 2021 SOA Ghana Fellow

css.php