The invasion of a seaweed called Sargassum along the West Coast of Ghana is threatening fishing activities and crippling the local economy.
The Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC), Ghana’s operator in the upstream oil and gas sector, has advised residents along the coast of the Western Region to exercise patience, as stakeholders race ahead of time to find a lasting solution to the invasion of seaweeds along the coast.
This advice was given by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the company, Mr Freddie Blay when he toured some of the affected areas with a team from the GNPC Foundation.
Mr Freddie Blay explained that the accusation levelled against oil and gas companies as being behind the invasion cannot be true since this invasion started before Ghana even discovered oil, though it was not on a large scale as it is currently.
“Some of them even speculate wrongly that the seaweeds are coming because there is oil production at the coastline in the Western Region, and we know that is not true, that it is as a result of oil exploration, exploitation or operations of the oil companies that have brought this thing.
“The climatic condition, global warming and all other things are partly the cause of what we are seeing today. This happens to be the things that have been happening since 1998 when I was then a Member of Parliament, but it has increased and is becoming worst,” he stated.
Speaking to the media at the sidelines of the tour, Mr Freddie Blay explained that the invasion of the seaweeds is spreading widely, and there is the need for an urgent intervention – something GNPC will work with other relevant stakeholders to help out.
He acknowledged the efforts of some of the communities in trying to get rid of these weeds, adding that more effort is needed from every stakeholder.
“Fortunately, the communities have organized themselves, and some of them, locally, are trying to help to clear the coastline. Maybe what we can do is to add more resources and ask other oil companies and any other industry around this area to help. Because, as I speak, this thing is spreading towards Shama, Sekondi and Takoradi.
“We need to control it. we need to manage it. At the moment some are dried up. But sooner or later maybe after rainfall, they will come again so we’re asking the Ghana community and also the environmental protection agency to come to the aid of the people around the community to come together and help. We should all come together and add our effort towards what they are doing here,” Mr Blay stated.
Mr Blay, who was in the company of the Executive Director of the GNPC Foundation, Dr Dominic Eduah, said they decided to visit the communities to look at what is happening on the coastline in Western Region, particular the oil enclave areas.
He stated that their visit has revealed the extent of the invasion of these seaweeds along the coast of the region, and the impact that it has had on the livelihoods of the fishing communities.
“Now this has made it impossible for the community, particularly fishermen to go to sea and look for their livelihoods, and that is causing serious problems around. So we members of the Board of Directors and the staff of GNPC realized that we need to come here to look at what is happening and the sort of help we can offer.
“I am sure we can manage and elevate the suffering that the people around us are undergoing,” he explained.