Fisher folks says they want to be involved

Fisher folks from the six coastal districts along the Jubilee Oil Field have appealed to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to actively involve them in the preparation of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the new Enyenra, Tweneboah and Ntomme (TEN) oil project.

They alleged at a meeting in Fijai on Friday that they were not consulted by the EPA for their views to be incorporated into the draft report of the EIA for documentation into the Environmental Impact Statement of the project.

The Western Region Network Development Organisation (WERENGO) held a meeting for the fishermen, fish mongers and related individuals from the coastal communities to brief them on the draft EIS.

According to the fisher folks they had not heard of the TEN project let alone the draft EIS, therefore appealed to the EPA to consult them for their inputs before the final report is published.

On the assertion that the EPA made public announcement and also held public hearing on the issue, they claimed only selected opinion leaders, chiefs and civil societies were invited thus ignoring the fishermen who are directly affected by the EIS.

The fisher folks, who expressed their concerns in turns, claimed that those supposed to be their mouthpiece normally fail to brief them on whatever transpired at meetings concerning them.

The fisher folks were from Jomoro, Ellembelle, Nzema East, Shama, Ahanta West and Sekondi –Takoradi, forming the six coastal districts along the Jubilee Field off Cape Three Points in the Western Region.

Mr Kwame Mensah, Coordinator of the WERENGO, a Regional based NGO which focuses on the environment, said considering the voluminous nature of the drafted EIS which has 1,562 pages, his outfit has come out with the abridged form to make it simpler for those directly affected to read and understand.

When Mr Mensah read portions of the drafted EIS to them, they raised objections concerning those mitigation measures which implied were minor but to them they were major issues and must the addressed before the final report comes out.

For instance the drafted EIS said damage to vessels were minor issues but the fisher folks thought otherwise as a vessel cost about GHC25, 000.00.

Mr Mensah said he was collating the views of the fishermen for onward submission to EPA to be incorporated into the final report of the EIS.

Mr Yaw Sarfo Afriyie, Western Regional Environmental Officer, told the GNA on telephone that the fisher folks’ views were sought through their leaders, chiefs chief fishermen, fishing associations and assembly members who were supposed to brief them.

He said several announcements were made and public hearings held to which the public were invited.

Tullow Ghana Limited, the major oil operator and its partners, Kosmos Energy, Anadarko Petroleum Company, Ghana National Petroleum Company and Sabre Oil and Gas have proposed to develop the TEN project.

The project is situated approximately 20 kilometers to the west of the Jubilee Field and lies in water depths ranging between 1,000 and 2,000 meters and is the second major hydrocarbon development offshore Ghana. Oil production from the TEN project is expected to start in mid 2016. GNA

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