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Fishermen Council advocates passage of Petroleum Bill into law

Sekondi (W/R), Feb. 28, GNA The Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC) has made a passionate appeal to government to fast-track the passage of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill into law.

The Western Regional Secretary of the Council, Mr Joseph Ebambey, made the appeal at Sekondi at a media engagement with members of the Council on the impacts of offshore oil and gas activities on fisheries resources.

The event was under the theme, A Call for the Passage of the Petroleum Bill into Law to address the Effects of Offshore Oil and Gas Exploitation on Environment and Fishing Livelihoods.

It was facilitated by Friends of the Nation, an environmental advocacy non-governmental organization (NGO) and supported by STAR-Ghana, UKAID and DANIDA.

Mr Ebambey said the fishing industry was at the verge of collapse due to weak fisheries governance and entreated the government to pay more attention to the sector by passing the Bill into law.

According to him, the effects of offshore oil and gas on fisheries resources and coastal environment in the six coastal districts of the Western Region had deprived most fishermen of their livelihoods and deepened economic hardship.

He therefore urged government to offer adequate protection for fisheries resources in view of the threat posed by activities of offshore oil and gas exploration.

Mr Ebambey observed that the development of offshore oil and gas infrastructure on the Jubilee Oilfield was negatively affecting artisanal fishermen, with occasional crash of oil supply vessels and fishing canoes resulting in destruction of fishing gears, canoes and sometimes loss of lives.

He noted that restriction of artisanal fishermen on safety exclusive zones due to oil and gas installations had deprived them of fish catch; insisting that seismic survey vessels of the oil companies should not conduct surveys in enclaves reserved for fishing.

Mr Don Chris Mevuta, Executive Director of Friends of the Nation, warned that the country could experience the Dutch Disease in view of the fact that all attention had been shifted to oil and gas exploration at the expense of fisheries resources.

He appealed to the government to pass the necessary legislative instruments to offer protection to the fisheries resources for the benefit of the entire citizenry; adding that the fishing industry made significant contribution to gross domestic product (GDP).

He suggested that fisher-folks should be involved in the formulation of policies and programmes regarding fisheries governance to solicit their inputs.

GNA

Source: GNA Story (http://www.ghananewsagency.org/economics/fishermen-council-advocates-passage-of-petroleum-bill-into-law-71459)
Published: 2014-02-28 18:19:19
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