Madam Dorcas Adwoa Painstil, the Ag. Executive Secretary of the Water Resources Commission (WRC), has observed that illicit human activities around water bodies poses serious threats to the natural habitat of fish.
She identified factors including waste from small-scale industries and mining (galamsey), leaching of agro-chemicals from farms into rivers, improper waste disposal and deforestation among others as having negative effects on water bodies.
Madam Painstil made the observation during the commemoration of the 2022 World Fish Migration Day (WFMD) in Wa at the weekend on the theme: “Connecting Fish, Rivers and People”.
The event, which was the first of its kind in the Black Volta Basin and Ghana, was organized by the WRC in partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other institutions from Burkina Faso and Ghana.
It was had funding support from the Regional Partnership on Water and the Environment in Central and West Africa (PREE) project, geared towards attracting global attention to the engendered migratory fish.
The WFMD was set aside to draw global attention to migratory fish and the need to protect their migratory routes.
The Executive Secretary advanced the urgent need to safeguard the fish migratory routes by creating ways around barriers to fish passage to enable them complete their life cycle, reproduce and increase their population.
“Migratory fish need free migration routes in order to survive as they need to migrate to reproduce, feed and complete their life cycle.
“Whiles exploiting water resources for the socio-economic development of citizens, it is imperative that we safeguard the biological diversity and ecosystems surrounding water bodies”, Madam Painstil intimated.
She explained that the WRC and its partners including the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the IUCN carried out integrated water management plans to ensure the proper utilization, conservation and development of water resources to help protect fish in its natural habitat, which was vital to the local economies and food security.
Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister, noted that crude fishing practices including the use of dangerous chemicals are contributing factors to the extinction of fish stock and other aquatic lives.
He explained that though strides had been made in attempts to safeguard the country’s water resources, much still needed to be done, not only to reduce hunger, but also to achieve the SDGs.
The minister also observed that Ghana shared about 85 per cent of the Volta Basin surface area with Burkina Faso, which presented integrating opportunity as well as potential source of conflict between the two countries.
Dr Salih therefore observed that transboundary activities such as the WFMD and potent initiatives towards “facilitating mechanism for cooperation in managing the shared resources of the Volta Basin.”
He expressed appreciation to the IUCN for selecting some districts in the region to benefit from the project, which would help promote water resource management in the region.
“Our hope is that at the end of the day these interventions impact positively on the lives of our people”, Dr Salih added.
By Bajin D. Pobia, GNA