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Fishermen Council advocates passage of Petroleum Bill into law

The Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC) has appealed to the 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 during an engagement with members of the Council on the impact 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 the Friends of the Nation, an environmental advocacy non-governmental organization 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 appealed to the government to pay more attention to the sector by passing the bill into law.

He said offshore oil and gas activities in the six coastal districts of the Western Region had deprived most fishermen of their livelihoods and deepened economic hardship and appealed to the government to give adequate protection to fisheries resources.

Mr. Ebambey said the development of the 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 said restriction of artisanal fishermen on safety exclusive zones due to oil and gas installations had deprived them fish catch and suggested 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, said 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 and suggested that fisher folks should be involved in formulation of policies and programmes regarding fisheries governance so as to solicit their inputs.

GNA

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