The Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences at the University of Ghana has called on Government to establish a National Coastal Zone Management Commission to help streamline the management our coastal areas.
"Such a commission would take care of the sectoral approaches and minimise overlaps and duplications which in the long term negatively impacts on marine and coastal area development."
A statement signed by Dr Elvis Nyarko, Head of Department, as part of activities to mark World Oceans Day, said the establishment of a National Coastal Zone Management Commission was one way to protect our oceans and coastal environment from degradation.
World Oceans Day is celebrated on the 8th of June each year and this year's celebration was on the theme: "Together we have the power to protect the Ocean".
Dr Nyarko called for operational and specific response mechanisms, stakeholder participation in decision-making at all levels of policy formulation and implementation, as well as community involvement in the monitoring and enforcements of by-laws.
It reminded Ghanaians that the world's oceans and their coastal systems were a great resource, providing food, water and a wide range of services valued at about US$25000 billion per year.
"For instance, more than a billion people worldwide rely on fish as their main source of protein, with an estimated 38 million people benefitting from direct employment from fisheries and fishery products.
In Ghana, fish is the most important non-traditional export commodity accounting for about 5 percent of the agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and contributing about 10% of the country’s working population."
The statement said there were concerns at local, national, regional and global levels about the serious threats and degradation these oceans and their coastal systems were currently facing.
These threats, it said, were mainly due to anthropogenic activities such as overfishing, illegal and unregulated fishing methods, population growth, pollution, erosion and sand winning, climate change, invasive species, and transboundary issues.