The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says claims by the Fisheries Commission that activities of oil companies are responsible for the recent deaths of sea-mammals along the country’s coast are not true.
This follows a statement made by the Fisheries Commission that 15 dead whales have been washed ashore between 2008 and 2013 in the Western Region alone since drilling of crude oil started.
Another whale has been washed ashore the Nkontompo beach in the Western Region, bringing the number of such mammals washed ashore Ghana’s beaches to four in the last five days.
The Western Regional office of the Commission has accused the EPA of failing to ensure that oil companies perform fisheries impact assessment before drilling began.
Responding, the Head of Public Relations at the EPA Mrs. Angelina Mensah, said the incidents of whales being washed ashore is a global occurrence and not limited to Ghana.
“Within the last four months, 10 whales were reported to have been washed ashore in various locations in Asia, the Americas and New Zealand.
“Possible reasons are injury from other predators, collision with maritime vessels, disease and old age. Some documentaries have shown killer whales attacking young baleen whales,” Mrs. Mensah explained.
The definitive reasons for the increasing incidents of whales being washed ashore in recent times have not been fully explained, and marine scientists in various jurisdictions are continuing investigations to establish possible causes of the phenomenon.
She noted: “While the frequent washing ashore of dead whales on the country’s beaches is of much concern to the Environmental Protection Agency, we find statements attributed to Mr. Emmanuel Ohene Marfo of the Fisheries Commission — that most whales and marine life that were discovered dead were found near oil rigs — to be very inaccurate and very misleading. As a matter of fact, no dead whale has so far been found close to any oil rig in Ghana”.
The PRO continued: “We are also dismayed that Mr. Marfo is purported to have said that oil drilling companies operating in Ghana did not undertake a Fisheries„ Impact Assessment (FIA) before starting drilling operations as required by law”.
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