The Regional Marine Centre (RMC) at the University of Ghana, is implementing the Marine and Coastal Areas Management in western Africa project under the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security & Africa (GMES & Africa) programme (http://gmes4africa.blogspot.com/). Using Earth Observation (EO) tools, the Centre provides five operational services: (1) Provision of potential fishing zone charts overlaid with vessel traffic, (2) Monitoring and forecasting oceanographic variables, (3) Forecast of ocean conditions disseminated as SMS alerts, (4) Generate coastal vulnerability indices and (5) Mapping of coastal and ecosystem/ habitats. All products are accessible via the project's geoportal (https://geoportal.gmes.ug.edu.gh/).
The GMES and Africa project provides its operational EO services to 12 ECOWAS coastal countries, namely Benin, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Through a network of national stakeholders, regional fisheries bodies, academia and researchers, the project is to impact decision making in the 12 beneficiary countries and has a duration of 36 months.
The objective of the Action is to provide decision-makers with information and tools that would support effective marine and coastal resources management in western Africa. This is being achieved through delivering EO services that will enhance the formulation of marine, fisheries and environmental policies to support decision-making at the national and regional level. Eight (8) West African institutions are partnering to implement this project, with the help of key institutions such as EUMETSAT and Joint Research Commission of the European Union (EU).
The RMC which is the lead institution for the marine consortium in West Africa is one of the 13 regional centres implementing GMES-Africa programme in Africa. The GMES & Africa programme is a follow up continental initiative of the Africa Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD) from 2007 to 2013 and the Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) from 2014 – 2017.
Under the marine component of the MESA project implemented by the University of Ghana, key successes were chalked including providing fisheries institutions with ocean state forecast through SMS and potential fishing zone (Pfzs) maps overlaid with fishing vessel traffic in the West African waters in all the 14 countries, collaboration with the Ghana meteorological agency (GMET) which resulted in the development of a coastline and marine forecast for the country, continuous capacity building for professionals, policy-makers and academia on MESA stations, development of marine products and building of EO user networks in all beneficiary countries, just to mention a few.
Although the RMC now provides EO services to 12 ECOWAS coastal countries, under the MESA programme, 14 west African coastal countries benefited from this including Sao Tome & Principe and Mauritania.
The Marine and Coastal areas thematic action under GMES and Africa programme in West Africa provides a unique opportunity to consolidate achievements from previous projects and to establish its sustainability.
The project is co-founded by the African Union Commission and the European Commission.
Youtube Channel: UG-GMES _Regional Marine Centre