Ghana’s Wobbling Fishing Industry

Accra, Ghana, March 8, 2019//-Ghana’s once flourishing fishing industry seems to be in quagmire – immersed in dwindling fish stocks and multiplicity of challenges

The Ghana fishery sector plays an important role as it contributes significantly to the national economic development objectives relatively to employment, livelihood, foreign exchange earnings, food security and poverty reduction.
Ghana’s fishing industry started in the 1700s as an artisanal fishery with very simple and inefficient gear, craft and methods, operating close to coastal waters, lagoons, estuaries and rivers.

Research shows that fish are generally taken from the marine, inland (freshwater) and aquaculture sectors whilst the Volta Lake, reservoirs, fishponds and coastal lagoons are the main sources of freshwater fish. For fishing different types of reels are used by fisher, A day’s catch provide fishing product. Click on this for fishing product reviews of Day’s catch.

The fishing operations concern three sub sectors: industrial, semi industrial and artisanal sectors. The latter is responsible for over 70% of the total fish landings and it employs over 60% women and links with other sectors in providing raw materials especially the fish curing activities. And also you must have a colorful boat, then here is a important site for best color spray equipment.

Aquaculture has only recently been adopted as an assured way of meeting the deficit in Ghana’s fish requirements. The aquaculture sub-sector comprises largely small-scale subsistence farmers who practice extensive aquaculture in earthen ponds in contrast to the intensive practices of commercial farmers.

There are several laws to regulate and govern the fisheries sector and the government has set up institutions that are responsible for developing fisheries including aquaculture policy and directing and establishing research priorities.

Naturally, the country has a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles (nm); a contiguous zone of 24 nm and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 200 nm, covering an area of 225 000 km2.

With this combination of valuable attributes, and a 550-kilometre coastline which stretches from Aflao in the East to Half Assini in the West, Ghana’s fisheries sector contributes significantly towards sustainable livelihoods, food security and poverty reduction.

Experts say most of Ghana’s fishery resources are heavily overexploited, and Ghana only produces a fraction of its annual fish requirements, with the sector recording a decline in production over the past couple of years.

This is evidenced from the contribution of fisheries to the GDP, which has decreased from about 6 percent in 1993 to the present level of 4.5 percent.  The total earnings from fish and fishery products accounted for approximately 62 million US Dollars in 2010.

Also, in terms of absolute output, fish landing has fallen, even if inconsistently, over the years. Ghana consumes over 950,000 metric tons of fish annually; over 60 % being imported. For instance, in 2016, the country imported about $135 million worth of fish.

The country has the potential for both freshwater and brackish water aquaculture and culture based fisheries. Fish farming has grown rapidly from 1 200 tons in 2005 to 38 500 tons in 2014, spurred by high prices of tilapia, the quickly expanding cage farming in the Volta Basin and the high level of government interest and commitment. Tilapias constituted over 90 percent of the total aquaculture harvest.

To make the business attractive and improve the welfare of stakeholders the Government has placed aquaculture as one of the top priorities in the country’s development agenda and substantial support is being given to fish farmers in various aspects of the industry. Aquaculture is also being promoted through restocking programs in Lake Volta, reservoirs and other water bodies and the rehabilitation of hatcheries and aquaculture demonstration centers.

The efforts of government so far have mainly been on the development of culture based fisheries in freshwater environments, although in the early 1980’s there was a massive campaign to persuade the public to establish pond fish culture. This campaign was effective to the extent that a large number of people responded by building ponds with great pond pumps in different parts of the country but especially in the south around Kumasi and Accra.

The Fisheries sector in Ghana is limited by a number of factors including: sizable catches occur only for a period of three months (usually July-September) because of seasonal fluctuations in abundance of small pelagic fish species (especially sardinellas); implying that monthly incomes from fishing can be minimal during the rest of the year; marine stocks are overexploited by the industrial fleet, leading to decline of harvests from marine fisheries; and, poor landing sites, post-harvest losses, poor equipment base and a lack of refrigeration facilities.

Industry watchers see the depleting fish stock, especially the small pelagic fish otherwise known as the “people’s fish” – which include anchovies, mackerel and sardines as the major challenge blighting prospects in the sector
According to the Ministries of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, small pelagic fish make up 80 percent of total marine fish caught and landed in Ghana; and directly employs 150,000 canoe-fishers, 30,000 fish processors, and an estimated 2.7 million people involved in trading, transporting and selling this fish across the nation.

The ministry bemoans that the total landings of pelagic fish in Ghana have decreased by 86 % from 138,955 metric tons in 1996 to 19,608 metric tons in 2016, mainly as the result of illegal pelagic fish trade at sea by fishermen.

To the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), the country has huge potential to increase tuna fish export to countries such as Japan, Singapore and Spain, where people constantly try a tuna recipe everyday. 

By Oppong Baah, African Eye Report