Oil and fishing, again

Fish vs. Oil Part 1 from Christiane Badgley on Vimeo.

I have been busy the past few weeks and haven’t had much time for posting…But today I have to take out a few minutes to repost an article from the Ghana News Agency (via Ghana Oil Watch).

It has been more than a year since I wrote about the difficult relationship between Ghana’s fishing communities and the oil industry. It seems that nothing much has changed since. The fishing communities are still waiting for an impact assessment. Fishermen say the oil industry is impacting their activities, but without any studies, they have nowhere to go with their grievances.

Here’s the article:

Jubilee oil operators fail to conduct fisheries impact assessment

Participants at a media capacity-building workshop on oil and gas in Takoradi have called on oil companies operating at the Jubilee Oilfields to conduct fisheries impact assessment at the oil fields.

They said this has become necessary with the commencement of oil exploration at the oilfields in order to ascertain the impact of oil exploration activities on the marine life.

The participants who made the call included journalists, media owners, management consultants and civil society organisations drawn from the Western and Central regions.

A Deputy Director of the Fisheries Commission, Mr Emmanuel Marfo, said it is a requirement for the oil companies to conduct fisheries impact assessment on the oilfields even before they start operations and that after almost two years of operations on the Jubilee Oilfields the oil companies have failed to abide by that obligation.

Speaking on the topic: “Pragmatic steps in protecting Ghana’s marine resources in the face of the emerging oil and gas industry – The Role of the Fisheries Commission”, Mr Marfo said marine life around the operations of the oil companies risk being affected in view of the noise and other activities made by the oil companies.

He said the livelihoods of fishermen would also be affected since a radius of 500-kilometres had been earmarked as out-of-bounds for fishing thereby depriving them of their livelihoods.

Mr Marfo observed that 2.4 million people representing 10 percent of the population in the country depended on the fisheries resources for their livelihoods and that there is an urgent need for the oil companies to carry out fisheries impact assessment of the oilfields.

“Fisheries resources contribute 4.5 percent towards the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of Ghana while many Ghanaians depended on fish stock for protein therefore there is the need for regulatory authorities to pay more attention to the fisheries sector with the commencement of oil exploration,” he said.

The Fisheries Commission officer said since the start of the oil exploration at the Jubilee Oilfields, supply vessels traffic had increased on the high seas, which had resulted in some vessels destroying the nets of fishermen without paying any compensation to them.

Mr Marfo said “these are some of the negative effects of oil exploration on fishing in the country that the authorities must pay attention to, in order to avoid problems”.

He appealed to government to resource the Commission adequately in order to perform its mandate effectively.

June 29, 2012

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