The Ocean Country Partnership Programme (OCPP), a bilateral Official Development Assistant (ODA) programme between the United Kingdom (UK) and Ghana has been launched on board British Naval vessel, HMS Trent that berth at the Tema Harbour.
The programme funded through the UK Blue Planet fund, work in partnership with a selection of ODA –eligible partner countries to deliver marine science technical assistant across three core themes namely, marine pollution, biodiversity loss and sustainable seafood.
In a speech read on her behalf, the sector minister, Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, said that the occasion provided Ghana an opportunity to network and exchange views with its counterpart, as well as, represent the country’s commitment to preserve its aquatic Ecosystem, she lauded UK government’s support toward the development of the fisheries sector and maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
She added that the UK government had been pivoted in providing experts and training opportunities that had greatly contributed to the growth and sustainability of our fishing industry.
“Additionally, your commitment to enhancing the maritime security in your region has helped to mitigate the threat of piracy and illegal fishing activities, enhancing the safety and wellbeing of our coastal community,” she said.
She further commended the Royal Navy onboard the HMS Trent, a state-of-the act offshore patrol vessel that has been deplored to the Gulf of Guinea since July 2023.
“The Royal Navy’s commitment in maintaining maritime security is commendable, and I am honoured to witness the first hand of capabilities and professionalism of the crew onboard HMS Tent,” she stressed.
According to the Minister, Ghana over the past decade, had attached importance to sustainable fishing practice in maintaining the delicate balance of marine biodiversity.
This, she explained was because the fisheries and aquaculture sector played an important role in the daily lives of Ghanaians and contributed significantly to national development, especially in the areas of Gross Domestic product contribution job and wealth creation as well as national food and nutritional security.
Mrs Koomson noted that the country’s domestic fish supply had been confronted with challenges such as over aquaculture fishing depletion or marine fish species pollution, impact of climate and illegal, unregulated, unreported fishing.
However, she said with the depletion of marine fish stocks, aquaculture presented a viable alternative and had considerable potential for increasing fish production, job creation and sustainable fish national security.
Ms Madeleine Kingdom, Blue Planet Fund Regional Coordinator for West Africa, said OCCP was part of the Blue Planet Fund, and in Ghana it also supported the National Planet Action Plan, as well as the World Bank’s PROBLUE Fund.
She explained that the Ocean Fund had been part of Ghana’s ambition to localise more of our Overseas Development Assistance, to reach communities on the frontline of climate change and biodiversity loss.
According to her OCPP had been collaborating with partner countries to share “cutting edge science and research” and to drive evidence-based policy making.
Ms Kingston said the programme was demand-led and in Ghana consultations started in August 2022 which had identified several targeted areas for support.