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Accra, Ghana, celebrates as well

On the 8th June, 2023, as part of the World Oceans Day celebration in Ghana, the University of Ghana Law School, the Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences of the University of Ghana in collaboration with Ocean Governance and Development Project and Norad organized the year’s celebration on the University of Ghana Campus. The UN motto "Planet Ocean: Tides are changing" brought together stakeholders from within the ocean space as well as University students to enlighten participants on ocean governance, the need to deepen ocean literacy and build strong partnerships.

The program also aimed to foster stakeholder discussions on the findings of the Ghana Oceans Governance Study Report. To this effect, Mundus maris Ghana, in addition to other civil society organizations and Government Ministries such as the Ghana Maritime Authority, Fisheries Commission, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST) and the Navy were invited to participate.

The event  was chaired by Prof. F. K. E Nunoo, Head of Department of the Marine and Fisheries Sciences, University of Ghana and Chair, Fisheries Commission of Ghana. High level dignitaries such as the Norwegian Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency Ambassador Ingrid Mollestad, Director of MEST, Mr. Peter Dery and other higher ranking state officials in maritime security were in attendance.

Mundus maris was represented by Ms. Sarah Appiah and Ms. Yaa Osei Mensah who joined in to contribute to the stakeholder discussion on the Ghana Ocean governance report presented by Mr. Godwin Djokoto, Coordinator, Ocean Governance, Research and Development Project. The report highlights the ocean's governance structure through the legal and institutional framework in Ghana, identified gaps and capacity building needs in ocean governance in Ghana. Pointing out two priority areas of concern; marine fisheries and maritime security, the authors made some recommendations for the way forward and called on stakeholder inputs.

During the discussion Ms. Sarah Appiah of Mundus maris emphasized the essence of gender considerations in ocean governance, particularly, the potential role women fish processors and traders in fighting against IUU fishing in Ghana. Again, she pointed out the subtle diversion of Saiko fishing which is believed to have been stopped but persisted in different forms in Tema, where the Chinese trawlers are now landing a lot of the small pelagic fish and packaging them as “ logo” fish. She also called on relevant stakeholders to address that to save the artisanal fisheries in Ghana. A student participant and a media personnel adding to the discussion also called on stakeholders to consider youth involvement and the media in ocean literacy and advocacy programs.

Importantly, the Director of MEST in his contribution to the discussion highlighted the need for the UNCLOS Treaty in Ghana and the New Oceans Treaty to be domiciled in a particular Ministry to facilitate its effective implementation.

The Mundus maris team also seized the opportunity to interact with some students and other participants of the event to explain our mandates and activities and give them some ocean literacy flyers. To help test participants’ knowledge after the event, the  team gave out the ocean quiz to some participants and collected responses from 23 respondents. It was gratifying to note that six students expressed their interest to volunteer with the organization. Welcome!

Text and pictures by Sarah Appiah.