Canoe fishermen and players in the country’s upstream oil and gas industry have agreed to adopt a Safe Sea Access Framework (SSAF) in their respective activities by adhering strictly to safety and good environmental practices for increased productivity.
The stakeholders at the second national workshop on SSAF held in Takoradi in the Western Region adopted the recommendations in the Framework for a more integrated cumulative impact.
The Framework was born out of a study to explore and evaluate the extent to which marine environmental challenges could be linked to or mitigated by oil and gas industry actions.
The independent study, undertaken by the Centre for Environment and Health Research and Training, focused on fishery and fishing decline, whale mortality, algal blooms, Tar balls, general marine environmental conditions and coastal socioeconomic conditions.
The study was commissioned in 2014 by the Environmental Protection Agency with funding from the Jubilee partners.
Lead Consultant of the Centre for Environment and Health Research and Training, Dr Yaw Amoyaw-said after a broader consultation with stakeholders, thematic areas such as direct intervention for modernizing artisanal fishing, education and regulatory provision on extending safety zones were agreed on for implementation.
He called on oil companies in the area to contribute the requisite resources to ensure the effective management of the Framework.
Head of Local Content at the Petroleum Commission Kwaku Boateng, said the move is to have peaceful coexistence between the fisher communities and operators in the oil and gas business.
Leaders of some fishing communities who spoke to JoyBusiness say the framework has come at the right time as they anticipate peaceful coexistence between the oil and gas industry and fishers.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MOFAD) has established the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee to formulate a sector-wide action plan and ensure the implementation of the adopted recommendations.
The SSAF became a priority project for the Joint Venture Partners to find a sustainable solution for safety zone incursions and fishing conflicts.
It was also to help government regulators and industry to collaborate in addressing increasing offshore conflicts and remove the perceived incremental adverse impacts on fishing livelihood
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