Coastline Must Be Conserved to Play its Ecological and Economic Role-Dr. Aheto

A call has been made for the conservation of the coastline to enable it play its ecological role for the marine and coastal environment. The Director of the Centre for Coastal Management (CCM), University of Cape Coast, Dr. Denis Aheto made the call at the opening of a five-day course on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Coastal Areas, at Anomabo. The course was designed to meet individual learning needs as well as providing valuable and constructive feedback for both participants and trainers alike. Of late Climate change and variability are affecting communities especially, those along our coast as seen with the intermittent flooding, seasonal drought and increasing land and temperatures. Participants were drawn from the National Disaster and Management Organisation (NADMO), Fisheries Commission, Land Use and Spatial Planning and Authority formerly (Town and Country Planning Department), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV). Speaking at the opening, the Director of CCM said the course was meant to build the capacity of professionals within the Civil Service to do things right particularly with our coastline. The Director was not happy with the wanton erection of illegal structures along the coastline from Ola to Iture on the Cape Coast- Takoradi highway and called on the Metropolitan Assembly to take steps to stop the development. “For the University of Cape Coast we have seen a rapid development of our coastline where we are having expanding ad hoc structures for entertainment or drinking spots. I think this an issue that, even as a university we have to take a close look at because it is not only destroying the aesthetic value or environment but I am also calling on the assembly and Environment Protection Agency to clamp these activities”. Dr. Aheto said traditionally, the areas have served as landing beaches for fishermen and it was not good these unfortunate developments are taking place on our beaches. He said even though the course was focusing on professionals from the Volta and Eastern regions, adding that “conservation of the coastal environment does not say that people should not utilize the environment, it should be done, but it must be managed in a way that people can use it and at the same time we can conserve it for it to have its ecological impact on the marine and coastal environment”. Dr. Aheto who is also the project manager, said the Centre has sent a position paper to the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) to factor coastal management issues in national development planning. He announced that the Centre was supporting five communities in the Western region with alternate livelihood to fishing to help reduce the pressure on the coastline. “If they make money from these alternative livelihood support programmes they will not go cutting the mangrove”, he stated. He also called for the need to share information and data in the sector adding, “Development of database has been well coordinated; it is not only UCC hut all the four public universities and it is a legitimate database”. He added that there were currently over 250 documents that have been posted on a newly created database website known as FishCoMGhana for people to access.