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Ghana Has No Whale In Its Territorial Waters

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Ghana has denied ownership of more than 26 large dead whales that anchored the coastal shores of its oil rich western region.

Fishermen in the western region together with some marine experts have attributed the death of the whales to the increasing activities of large operations of vessels supporting the services of the Floating Production storage Offload Vessel that is producing crude oil offshore.

FoN_Whale_Cape3Points_1However, deputy director in charge of Oil and Gas at the Environmental Protection Agency,( EPA), Kodjo, Agbonome Esinam indicates that Ghana as a country does not have whales in its territorial waters.

. According to him there has not been any baseline survey done on whales in Ghana to determine if the country has whales it can call its own.

“The surveys we have done did not cover whales. Taking baseline survey of whales is very difficult because whales are migrating species.

We don’t have Ghanaian whales but we have responsibility of their safety or welfare until they leave our waters. There are few countries that have the resources with dedicated vessels and scientists to monitor the whales like South Africa.

What happens in Ghana is that when the whales are cited offshore they are documented and we receive the reports from the vessels for analysis.

oil production has led to the death of about 25 whales on the western shores of the country. It is estimated that the coastal waters of Ghana harbors about 150 whales out of which 25 have already been killed through oil production activities.
The number is expected to sink further as Ghana develops a second FPSO, to drill oil at the Tweneboa Enyra and ….oil field (TEIN). The second oil drilling vessel is expected to start production in the first quarter of 2016.

Ghana is likely to lose all its whale population and species in the next ten years if the trend of killing continues without government intervention or regulation. So far neither government nor the environmental protection agency has been able to conduct a study to ascertain the cause of the whale deaths.

And no institution has been held responsible for the death of the endangered marine species.

Information available indicates that Ghana risks a ban on the sale of oil from the jubilee fields if measures are not put in place to check the continuous death of whales in its waters.

Over the last few years the numbers of whales and dolphins that are dying along the coast of Ghana have increased. Locals claim that deaths started to happen following oil drilling in the region while the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is claiming that locals are killing the creatures and smoking them for sale as fish.

The latest whale to wash ashore in the Western region of Ghana brings to a total of 21 whales since 2010 and 26 since 2008.

The local’s claim that the whale deaths have increased since the Jubilee Oil Field was opened and it is the drilling which is causing the large number of deaths. Oil was first discovered in 2007 with production of crude oil beginning in 2010.

The head of a 9 man panel set up to investigate the whale and dolphin deaths though claim that local people are undertaking a ‘targeted slaughter’ of whales and dolphins. Professor Ofori-Danso, the head of a 9-member committee sanctioned by the EPA is claiming that local fishermen catch dolphins and whales.

They then smoke the meat and pass it off as smoked fish. Dolphin meat is also used as bait for shark fishing.
He has warned people in Ghana to be careful of what smoked fish they buy in case it is dolphin meat.

The other reason that the panel has put forward for the increase in whale and dolphin deaths is the surge in use of plastics in the country. Much of the plastic eventually makes its way to the seas and this causes problems for the dolphins and whales.

The panel also suggested that ship strikes and entanglement in fishing nets could be the cause of the deaths.

The report, published this week, states that more research needs to be done before any blame can be put on the oil field developments.

The panel indicates that that the peak year of whale and dolphin deaths so far has been 2013 when 12 whales deaths were recorded. The whale deaths become highlighted globally in that year after local fishermen of Domunli held a funeral for a humpback whale that had been found stranded.

The committee recommended reforms in the country’s legislature which deals with marine species. It further called for regional cooperation, proper monitoring and provision of the research team with state of- the-art machinery.

The committee’s report also called for the establishment of a specialized unit in charge of whales and dolphins.
Prof Danso disclosed this while delivering a report on the committee’s findings.

He said between 2009 and 2013, the deaths of 24 whales were reported in Ghana.

The Western region recorded the highest number of whale and dolphin deaths. Prof. Danso also mentioned that the Committee identified a number of reasons for the mortality rate of the cetacean beasts (Whales and dolphins).

He cited ship strikes, collision with vessels, entanglement with fishing gears and nets, ingestion of marine debris, targeted slaughter for whale fins and bones and seismic interference by prospecting agencies.

It is also possible that the whales might have died elsewhere and washed ashore in Ghana, he said. Friends of the Nation (FoN), a socio-environmental Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) on Friday called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to publish its findings on the death of whales and implement solutions to forestall their deaths during this migration season which has already started.

Source: Kwabena Adu Koranteng

Ghana has denied ownership of more than 26 large dead whales that anchored the coastal shores of its oil rich western region.

Fishermen in the western region together with some marine experts have attributed the death of the whales to the increasing activities of large operations of vessels supporting the services of the Floating Production storage Offload Vessel that is producing crude oil offshore.

FoN_Whale_Cape3Points_1However, deputy director in charge of Oil and Gas at the Environmental Protection Agency,( EPA), Kodjo, Agbonome Esinam indicates that Ghana as a country does not have whales in its territorial waters. According to him there has not been any baseline survey done on whales in Ghana to determine if the country has whales it can call its own.

“The surveys we have done did not cover whales. Taking baseline survey of whales is very difficult because whales are migrating species.

We don’t have Ghanaian whales but we have responsibility of their safety or welfare until they leave our waters. There are few countries that have the resources with dedicated vessels and scientists to monitor the whales like South Africa.

What happens in Ghana is that when the whales are cited offshore they are documented and we receive the reports from the vessels for analysis.

oil production has led to the death of about 25 whales on the western shores of the country. It is estimated that the coastal waters of Ghana harbors about 150 whales out of which 25 have already been killed through oil production activities.
The number is expected to sink further as Ghana develops a second FPSO, to drill oil at the Tweneboa Enyra and ….oil field (TEIN). The second oil drilling vessel is expected to start production in the first quarter of 2016.

Ghana is likely to lose all its whale population and species in the next ten years if the trend of killing continues without government intervention or regulation.

So far neither government nor the environmental protection agency has been able to conduct a study to ascertain the cause of the whale deaths. And no institution has been held responsible for the death of the endangered marine species.

Information available indicates that Ghana risks a ban on the sale of oil from the jubilee fields if measures are not put in place to check the continuous death of whales in its waters.

Over the last few years the numbers of whales and dolphins that are dying along the coast of Ghana have increased. Locals claim that deaths started to happen following oil drilling in the region while the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is claiming that locals are killing the creatures and smoking them for sale as fish.

The latest whale to wash ashore in the Western region of Ghana brings to a total of 21 whales since 2010 and 26 since 2008. The local’s claim that the whale deaths have increased since the Jubilee Oil Field was opened and it is the drilling which is causing the large number of deaths. Oil was first discovered in 2007 with production of crude oil beginning in 2010.

The head of a 9 man panel set up to investigate the whale and dolphin deaths though claim that local people are undertaking a ‘targeted slaughter’ of whales and dolphins. Professor Ofori-Danso, the head of a 9-member committee sanctioned by the EPA is claiming that local fishermen catch dolphins and whales.

They then smoke the meat and pass it off as smoked fish. Dolphin meat is also used as bait for shark fishing.
He has warned people in Ghana to be careful of what smoked fish they buy in case it is dolphin meat.

The other reason that the panel has put forward for the increase in whale and dolphin deaths is the surge in use of plastics in the country.

Much of the plastic eventually makes its way to the seas and this causes problems for the dolphins and whales. The panel also suggested that ship strikes and entanglement in fishing nets could be the cause of the deaths.

The report, published this week, states that more research needs to be done before any blame can be put on the oil field developments.

The panel indicates that that the peak year of whale and dolphin deaths so far has been 2013 when 12 whales deaths were recorded. The whale deaths become highlighted globally in that year after local fishermen of Domunli held a funeral for a humpback whale that had been found stranded.

The committee recommended reforms in the country’s legislature which deals with marine species. It further called for regional cooperation, proper monitoring and provision of the research team with state of- the-art machinery.

The committee’s report also called for the establishment of a specialized unit in charge of whales and dolphins.
Prof Danso disclosed this while delivering a report on the committee’s findings. He said between 2009 and 2013, the deaths of 24 whales were reported in Ghana.

The Western region recorded the highest number of whale and dolphin deaths. Prof. Danso also mentioned that the Committee identified a number of reasons for the mortality rate of the cetacean beasts (Whales and dolphins).

He cited ship strikes, collision with vessels, entanglement with fishing gears and nets, ingestion of marine debris, targeted slaughter for whale fins and bones and seismic interference by prospecting agencies.

It is also possible that the whales might have died elsewhere and washed ashore in Ghana, he said. Friends of the Nation (FoN), a socio-environmental Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) on Friday called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to publish its findings on the death of whales and implement solutions to forestall their deaths during this migration season which has already started.

By: Kwabena Adu Koranteng

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Reporting Oil and Gas project was launched on 4th June 2009atTakoradi, Western Region, Ghana by Penplusbytes (PPB – www.penplusbytes.org) with the vision of providing a one stop online information and knowledge about Ghana’s oil and gas sector
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