Let’s secure the oceans for the future – Scott

Mr. Robert Scott, the Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Engagement Africa at the US Department of State, has called on countries to be good stewards of the ocean and secure it for the future. He said it was crucial to regulate the quantity of fish being brought offshore in order not to deplete the seas, as fish were already dwindling. He said this when he visited the Ghana Port and Harbour Authority (GPHA) and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, where he received briefings on steps being taken by authorities on monitoring devices with the support of the USAID to track activities of trawlers on sea. He said America was proud to partner Ghana in its important move to monitor the activities of trawlers at sea, stating that, '70 percent of Africa's protein comes from fish, and here in Ghana, if you want to have fish and kenkey or fish with Banku, the price is going up. 'Why is the price going up? Because there's no fish.' He mentioned that illegal activities in maritime space had been a conc ern in almost all countries and needed to be addressed with all seriousness, saying they are environmentally irresponsible. Touching on security along the Gulf of Guinea, he mentioned that the Yaoundé Code of Conduct, which was an established agreement to share responsibility by countries along the Gulf of Guinea for security at sea, was commendable as such negotiations were difficult to come by. The code's primary objective is to manage and reduce the adverse impacts derived from piracy, armed robbery against ships, and other illicit maritime activities, such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. He commended Africa for initiating moves that reduced illegal fishing activities, saying that the steps adopted by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture were in the right direction to enhance maritime security. Mr. Scott, who also toured the USS Hershel 'Woody' Williams vessel, that docked at the Tema Port, said the 800-foot-long ship would be participating in the Obangame Express, the large st naval exercise in the coming weeks, as a symbol of partnership between Ghana and America. The ship is the first US Navy ship assigned to the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) area of operations to conduct missions in the Mediterranean and the waters around East, South, and West Africa to include the Gulf of Guinea, operating with regional partners. Source: Ghana News Agency