Fisher-folks in Ada sensitised to conserve ‘hammerhead’ sharks

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The Sharks and Rays Conservation Group, an advocacy organisation, has sensitised fisher-folks in the Ada East District of the Greater Accra Region on the need to conserve the ‘hammerhead’ shark species.

The hammerhead sharks play a key role in the marine ecosystem but have experienced more than 80 per cent depletion over the past few decades globally.

The sensitisation was aimed at drawing the attention of fishermen to the effects of the depletion of the sharks and other species in the sea and finding workable solutions to illegal fishing practices that are causing fish extinction.

It was on the theme: “Conservation of Hammerhead Sharks in Ghana,” which drew about 80 participants from Azizanya and its environs.

It was sponsored by the Rufford Foundation and the Conservation Leadership Programme.

Ms Tabitha Adinorkwor Alimo, the leader of the group, said the programme was also to draw up and implement a national action plan to protect the critically endangered hammerhead shark species in Ghana.

Ms Alimo said hammerhead sharks played an essential role in coastal marine ecosystems by ensuring species diversity as well as keeping a balance with their competitors.

She said their disappearance would lead to the extinction of other sharks and rays, a situation that could lead to mass shortages of food and other marine resources.

“The hammerhead sharks have experienced more than 80 per cent depletion over the past few decades globally, and are threatening further decline, so we are fighting for conservation; we want the existing population to replenish,” she stated.

Research conducted in the Ada District revealed that the migrant fishers were those influencing the catching of sharks, and they had modernised nets that supported their illegal activities, Ms Alimo said.

She, therefore, appealed to all fishermen to avoid activities that affected the serenity of the sea to preserve endangered fishes and other aquatic creatures.

Mr Prince Dankwa, the Assistance Manager of the Fisheries Commission, Ada East, said sharks played key roles in the marine system by feeding on other species to survive, and it had become critical to intensify the education of local fishermen to do the right thing.

He said even though the government was trying its best, a collective effort to preserve sharks for the benefit of Ghanaians was necessary.

The programme was organised in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society, Fisheries Commission, Iroko Consult, Oasis Conservancy, BirdLife International, and Fauna and Flora International.

By Elizabeth Larkwor Baah, GNA

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