Invest in marine research and capacity building - Marine Expert

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 Source: GNA

Professor Elvis Nyarko, a Marine Expert, has called on government to invest in marine research, capacity building and constant monitoring of the country’s coastline to avert any pollution.

He urged government to also have an achievable plan to avert much waste from entering the sea, especially at the coastline in the Greater Accra Region to help prevent hypoxia.

Prof. Nyarko made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the massive deaths of fishes and dolphins washed ashore at Osu in the Greater Accra Region and Upper Axim and Bewire in the Nzema East Municipality of the Western Region.

He said the fishes and mammals were killed due to suffocation as a result of the low oxygen content in the water column, with some managing to escape through.

He said the abundance of decaying plant material falling on the seabed severely reduces the oxygen concentration in the bottom waters, and most benthic or bottom.

“The fishes and dolphins died of oxygen depletion related stress also referred to as hypoxia,” he added.

He corroborated the findings of the Fisheries Commission, which indicated the death of the fishes and the dolphins was related to stress.

Prof Nyarko, who is also the Vice-Chancellor of the Regional Maritime University, said “Hypoxic events occur frequently in the Gulf of Mexico along the US coast, Wadden Sea and even in Togo and it is commonly triggered by eutrophication.

He explained that when much fertilizer (large quantities waste) entered the sea, the level of oxygen that supported aquatic life reduces, leading to stress among fishes including the dolphins that were washed ashore at Axim in the Western Region.

Prof Nyako indicated that the level of waste that entered the Gulf of Guinea from Ghana had increased tremendously thus becoming dangerous for the fishes.

Earlier, the Fisheries Commission revealed that its preliminary investigations into the death of the fishes pointed to stress factors.

Dr Peter Zedah, Head of Fish Health Unit, Fisheries Commission, said tests were being conducted for further clarity but the stress was conspicuous from their initial investigations.

“Our initial investigations have proven that the fishes died as a result of some stress factors. For the [exact] stress factors, we are still investigating,” he said.

“Whether they were poisonous or not, we cannot tell because the other people are doing some pesticide testing,” he said.

Source: GNA