Support Marine Conservation efforts – Minister

Madam Ophelia Mensah Hayford, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI), today called on Ghanaians to support marine conservation efforts to ensure food security.

Ghanaians, she explained, could do so by providing support to groups and projects that saved marine life, preserved marine environments, and advanced environmentally friendly fishing methods.

Such actions would preserve biodiversity, ensure ecosystem services, maintain food security, regulate climate, and preserve cultural heritage, all of which were essential for the health of the planet and the well-being of both current and future generations.

The Minister of MESTI was speaking at the World Oceans Day (WOD) Celebration in Ghana, under the theme, ‘Awaken New Depth.’

The United Nations General Assembly designated June 8, as the WOD to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean and promote public awareness on the importance of the ocean for all life forms on earth and actions for a sustainable oc
eans management.

Madam Hayford said Ghana adopted the same theme with the focus on exploring deeper understanding and collaboration among various stakeholders to significantly address the challenges facing the oceans and renew its commitments to attain positive ocean health.

She said the ocean played a vital role in the planet’s health and well-being, covering 70 per cent of the planet and 97 per cent of earth’s water, and is vital for human life, providing food, shelter, livelihoods, and medicines.

The Minister said it also mitigated climate change, absorbing 30 per cent of carbon emissions and 90 per cent of heat generated by rising emissions, adding that its estimated contribution to the global economy was USD 2.5 trillion annually.

She said the ocean was enormous, and that we depended entirely on it, but had only explored about 10 per cent, with limited knowledge about its health and the greater implications and ramifications of human activities on the oceans which were still largely unknown.

Madam H
ayford said ocean pollution, overfishing, illegal fishing and piracy, coastal erosion, lack of education and awareness, limited infrastructure, funds, and enforcement, and Climate change and ocean acidification were some notable threats faced by the Ocean.

She said the ocean’s relationship with humans needed a shift to awaken new depths and focus on research, conservation, and sustainable practices.

‘Collaboration between governments, scientific, regulatory, and non-governmental organisations is therefore necessary to restore its balance and vitality,’ she added.

The Minister said globally, there were noteworthy efforts across various initiatives to ‘Awaken New Depth’ to advance sustainability and ocean conservation, which included the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14, among others.

She noted there was the need to adequately conduct ocean awareness campaigns through events, social media, and stories to raise public awareness about ocean conservation and human activities’ impact on marine ecosystems.

‘We must also adequately implement eco-friendly innovations, encourage sustainable tourism, inspire individual action, support policy change, celebrate and support ocean champions,’ she added.

The Minister for MESTI called on all and sundry to unite in exploring new depths towards managing, protecting, and sustaining the ocean health towards achieving a bluer, safer, and better ocean lifestyle.

Mr Ransford Sekyi, Deputy Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency, said the oceans, with their vast blue expanse and diverse marine life were important to the existence on earth as it provided vast benefits to billions of people and supported a wealth of biodiversity.

He said though the ocean was incredibly huge, and the complete reliance was on it for livelihoods, we had only investigated about 10 per cent, thus very little was known about it in totality.

‘The impacts or effects of anthropogenic actions still remain a concern and it’s well known that the ocean is in grave danger.’

‘As we come together
to mark this important day, let us reflect on and commit to a shared responsibility of safeguarding and conserving these invaluable resources for current and future generations,’ he added.

Source: Ghana News Agency