A Regional sensitization workshop on Fishing Landing Site Mapping and Documentation under the Sustainable Ocean Project (SOP) by Hen Mpoano has taken place in Takoradi.
The SOP is a three-year project funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). It seeks to build grassroots capacity for a sustainable ocean economy in Ghana through inclusive, strong and effective capacity building, planning and management of coastal ecosystems.
Within the three-year period – 2022 and 2025 – the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Hen Mpoano (HM), Friends of the Nation (FoN) and Central and Western Fishmongers Improvement Association (CEWEFIA) are to work on improving incomes in fishing communities and address the effects of climate change on fisheries.
The objective is to improve income resilience of fishing communities to climate and human-induced threats, through enhanced opportunities for value addition along fisheries supply chains and enterprise development.
Also, it is to strengthen climate change adaptation and mitigation capacities in coastal areas through improved spatial and land-use planning; and community-led management of wetland and mangrove ecosystems.
Again, the SOP will focus on a number of activities such as building local and national constituencies to protect and rehabilitate mangroves and resilience against climate change impacts.
“The project will target land-use planners at the MMDAs to incorporate mangrove protection into land-use plans so as to build mangrove conservation into action plans including traditional authorities and landowners,” explained Justice Camillus Mensah, Project Manager-Hen Mpoano.
According to him, one of the project’s objectives is to ensure that the landing sites together with all the areas fisherfolk use have been documented and registered for the use of their livelihood.
“We have lost a chunk of the landing beaches through sea-level rise, and there is competitive land use along the coast – such as the springing-up of hotels among others. So, it is important that the space where these fisherfolk are doing their work – such as mending their nets, docking their canoes, selling and processing their fish – is protected,” he said.
He continued that: “The project seeks to ensure that 10 of the landing sites which started in 2020 are registered through the deeds level”. Mr. Mensah mentioned that the project will improve land tenure governance for sustainable seafood systems.
“A strong national policy will help protect over 292 landing beaches and support the livelihood of over 140,000 fishermen across four coastal regions.
“30 journalists will be trained to ensure accurate, timely and focused reporting, as well as raise awareness on sustainable fisheries. Over 200,000 people will be reached, helping to improve awareness and fisheries transparency,” he said.
Stephen Kankam, Deputy Director-Hen Mpoano, said climate change, human activities and development actions within the shore are hampering the effective activities of fishers. He therefore called for a multifaceted approach to safeguarding landing beaches.