This roundtable will highlight the often-overlooked connections between the lives and livelihoods of Small-Scale Fishers, their role and risks as environmental human rights defenders, and the needs and opportunities to work with Small-Scale Fishers as crucial partners in the conservation, sustainable use and restoration of marine biodiversity in the face of a changing climate.

The event will share cutting-edge research carried out with Small-Scale Fishers in South Africa, Ghana and Namibia on the challenges to their lives and livelihoods arising from blue economy initiatives, non-inclusive top-down conservation, and other pressures on ocean use. The event will also share insights into the recognition and protection of Small-Scale Fishers as environmental human rights defenders, processes for building alliances between small scale fishers and others working for ocean well-being, and responses to their needs for access to fisheries resources and markets (SDG 14.b) through the lens of customary sustainable use and protection of marine biodiversity.

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This seminar will explore the role and practical relevance of international legal instruments for the recognition and full realisation of the human rights of small-scale fishers, such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication. It will explain why these legal instruments came into being, and discuss their respective contributions. It will then discuss how these instruments matter in the specific context of small-scale fisheries in South Africa and Ghana. Our panellists will discuss what the definition of small-scale fisheries in South Africa and Ghana entails at legal and practical levels, the problems that arise due to variability in the sector, and procedural and substantive rights in the context of small-scale fisheries and the implications of COVID-19 to the protection of these rights.


1. Dr Bernadette Snow, Nelson Mandela University

2. Ms Taryn Pereira, Rhodes University

3. Dr Bola Erinosho, the University of Cape Coast, Ghana

4. Dr Harrison Kwame-Golo, the University of Education, Winneba, Ghana

5. Professor Elisa Morgera, the University of Strathclyde, UK

6. Ms Julia Nakamura, the University of Strathclyde, UK

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As part of the World Ocean Day celebrations, on the June 8, 2020, Mundus maris organised a participatory dialogue and sensitisation among fisher folks and youth in Apam, a fishing community in the Gomoa West District of Ghana. The event under the theme ‘The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods’ aimed to raise the awareness on human connectedness to the ocean, why and how we must care for the ocean – with particular emphasis on the need to combat plastic ocean pollution.

As learning from traditional knowledge and local perspectives is crucial for any transformational change, participants were invited to discuss the topic in smaller groups to make sure that all voices were heard.

The gathering lasted for almost two hours and was attended by fifty-seven (57) participants including fishermen, women fish processors and traders, youth and other stakeholders in the community. It was facilitated by Prof. Francis K.E. Nunoo, a Fisheries Scientist and Head of Department of the Marine and Fisheries Sciences, University of Ghana, who led the discussion on the theme and provided the summary, including additional highlights.

Regarding the benefits of the ocean to human lives and livelihoods, participants highlighted how it provides us with fish and other sea food, serves as a means of livelihood, particularly for them as coastal folks, foreign exchange from fish exports, promotes tourism and serves as a pleasant place for recreation (relaxation) and mental well-being. Summing up on the topic, Prof. Nunoo added how human lives are dependent on the ocean highlighting that the ocean produces about 50% of the world’s oxygen, regulating the oxygen concentration in the atmosphere.

In highlighting the issues that are harming the ocean, participants outlined the following: the use of poisonous chemicals for fishing, disposal of waste at the shore/ ocean as well as the dumping of plastic waste in the sea while on fishing expedition, the activities of Saiko (transshipment at sea), overfishing, the activities of mining companies at sea, poor sanitation at the shore with lack of toilet facilities leading to open defecation at the shore.

In the closing remarks, Ms. Sarah Appiah thanked all participants and especially all the elders for their contributions and proposed initiatives. She indicated Mundus maris‘ willingness to support such initiatives as the gathering for World Ocean Day was not an end in itself but an opportunity to galvanise improvements to problems identified by the community.

The local Nyce FM honoured the invitation to the event and aired the programme on the evening news on the 8th of June.

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Canoes are at once expressions of continuity and change within coastal cultures. Longstanding representations of adaptive maritime cultures, canoes have been altered and transformed to not only weather social, economic, and technological shifts but also to absorb and thrive over periods of change. Far from inanimate vessels used solely for economic gain, canoes are expressions of the social, emotional, and spiritual worlds of canoe users and their communities. In Ghana, this is conveyed in the pictograms, names, inscriptions, and paintworks that adorn canoe hulls as well as in the communal associations and festivals in which canoes are fundamental artefacts. Focusing on Ghana, each participant will draw on their distinctive research perspectives to consider different aspects of canoe culture and heritage. Collectively, these characteristics exhibit the deep emotional engagement with the sea that coastal communities and those who derive their livelihoods from the sea often hold, and which centres on the deep integration of marine and terrestrial spaces across the aquapelago.

Jun 9, 2021 12:00 PM in Greenwich Mean Time

Register here:

Panel members and topics:

1. Dr. Georgina Yaa Oduro, the University of Cape Coast– Exploring Heritage and Livelihoods with examples from Canoe inscriptions and festivals in Coastal Ghana

2. Dr. David Wilson, the University of Strathclyde – Controlling the Littoral: Canoes, livelihoods, and adaptations in precolonial and colonial Ghana

3. Dr. John Ansah, the University of Cape Coast – Asafo companies and canoe-related fisheries management in Ghana

4. Prof. Rose Boswell, Nelson Mandela University – Locality, Identity and Livelihood: How ‘aquapelagos’ may shift concepts of terraqueous territory and intangible heritage

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To #celebrate World Ocean Day 2021, we are holding an Infographic competition!
We are looking for the most #innovative and #creative infographic to illustrate the #plastic problem in #Ghana and how it affects the #Marine #Ecosystem.
*How to Participate:*
Upload the infographic on the following social media platforms: Instagram, Twitter, and use the hashtag #WorldOceansDay #ArtForOceans #GAYOGHANA
The deadline is 6th June.
The winner will be announced at the upcoming webinar happening on the 8th of June. Details will be communicated shortly.
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Join WSCM’s agent of change activity to make the coast of Accra a protected Area with the following; Educational and Awareness creation, Mapping of the gutters of each community, Netting the entrances of the gutters, Clean-ups by the youth, Mangrove Nurturing at Estuaries ,Naming of Selected Beaches, Film shows and Screening Festivals, Lectures for adults and Reading for kids, Quiz and Suggestions form the elderly, Music, Art and painting, Online events, Recreation, Sports, Commitments and Pledges and Boat regatta


Let the local authorities and Traditional Authorities unite to keep the beaches from Tema to Jamestown clean; Free from toilets, Face masks and Plastic waste.

It is 72 days more to World Ocean Day 2021

“There is no such thing as “AWAY” when we throw anything away it must go somewhere.” – Annie Leonard

Out of the 7 traditional Council 1. Tema. 2.Tema West, 3. Nungua, 4. Teshie, 5. La, 6. Osu and 7. Jamestown, which of the chiefs is going to woo his community to stop the gutters from connecting the sea with (Toilets, Nose Masks and Plastic) Waste?

June 8 is World Ocean Day, the day for celebrating the role of the oceans in our everyday life and inspiring action to protect the ocean and sustainably use marine resources since 1992.


Call for Action  

So, what are you doing for mother earth? Let us use the conservation action to change the narrative! The coastal and marine ecosystems have strategic values with various functions and benefits for the environment and have become a source of human life that depends on the resources contained therein, countries need to ensure the sustainability of coast land marine ecosystems for the welfare of the community,