BACKGROUND  

Ghana is located on the West coast of Africa between latitudes 4oN and latitudes 3oW and 1°E. It is bounded by Burkina Faso and the north, Cote d’voire on the west, Togo on the east and on the south by the Gulf of Guinea.

With a coastline of nearly 550km long, the total land area of Ghana is 238,527 sq.km (i.e. 92,100 sq. Miles) and the area of the continental shelf is about 24,000sq.km.

The Volta River basin (including Lake Volta, the largest man-made lake in Africa) dominates the country’s riverine systems.

Contribution of Fisheries to Agriculture
Agriculture is the dominant sector of the Ghanaian employing about 60% of the labour force Agriculture (predominantly smallholder, traditional and rain-fed) contributes 45-50 of the GDP and about 75% of export earnings of Ghana. The fisheries sub-sector accounts for 5% of the country’s agricultural GDP.

With a per capita consumption of about 25 kg per annum, fish is a preferred source of animal protein in Ghana. Fish is expected to contribute 60% of animal protein intake of Ghanaians. About 75% of the total domestic production of fish is consumed locally. The fishing industry in Ghana is based on resources from the marine and inland (freshwater) sectors, coastal lagoons and aquaculture.

Aquaculture
Fish farming is relatively new to Ghanaian but its practice is becoming widespread in many parts of the country. There are about 1,000 fish farmers and over 2000 ponds with a total surface area of about 350 ha.
Total annual production from aquaculture currently stands at about 1000 MT only.

Fish are cultured semi-intensively in earthen ponds either as monoculture of tilapia or polyculture of tilapia and catfish. Cage culture in ponds has recently been introduced and is being practised on one commercial fish farm. Pen culture with tilapia, recently introduced in the Keta lagoon, has been very successful.

Shrimp/prawn farming has not caught on in Ghana even though research has shown that there is a great potential for commercial farming of he local shrimp species, Penaeus notialis and P.kerathurus

The Government has taken some measures to accelerate the development of fish farming in Ghana. A crawlerdozer has been acquired for the Ashanti Fish Farmers Association (FFA); to be paid for on hire purchase and a modern hatchery has been established near Kumasi to provide good quality fish fingerlings to fish farmers.

Processing
Post harvest utilization of landing is a topical issue in Ghana. Efforts are being made to improve the traditional methods of smoking, salting and drying.
There are two large tune canneries in Ghana – the Pioneer Food Cannery and the Ghana-Agro Food Company; these are located in Tema. Products from these plants go to European Union (EU) countries, USA, other African countries and domestic markets.

Fish Exports
Fish is Ghana’s most important non-traditional export commodity. In 2002,
Export earnings form fish and fishery product amounted to nearly US$ 96million. The export destination is mainly EU countries.

Fish and seafood exports from Ghana are made up of tuna (whole, loins and canned), frozen fish (mostly demersal species), shrimps, lobsters, cuttlefish and dried/smoked fish.

Fisheries Administration and Management
The Directorate’s of Fisheries of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is responsible for policy formulation and implementation, management and control of the fishing industry under the general guidance and direction of a Minister of State for Fisheries Commission. The Fisheries Commission advises the Minister in all matters pertaining to the industry

The Directorate’s mission “ ….is to promote sustainable exploitation and responsible utilization of fishery resources of Ghana through sound management practices, research, appropriate technological development for both culture and capture fisheries, effective extension and provision of other support services to fish farmers, fishermen, fish processors and traders for improved income and fish food security”.

The functions of the Directorate are summarized as follows
i. To prepare and keep under continual review, plans for the management and development of marine and freshwater capture fisheries and aquaculture;
ii. To carry out research for the assessment for fisheries resources; and
iii. To ensure that monitoring, control and surveillance of the fishery waters of Ghana.

The Directorate has five operational divisions for Marine Fisheries Management. Inland Fisheries Management (and Aquaculture), Marine Fisheries Research, Monitoring, Control and Surveillance and Finance and Administration.

The current Fisheries Law (Act 625 of 2002) provides for the integration of the Directorate of Fisheries and the Fisheries Commission for the regulation and management of the utilization of fisheries resources of Ghana and coordination of the policies in relation to them.
A new set of Fisheries Regulations to give effect to the Fisheries Act 625 (2002) is under preparation.

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