Without well-structured and comprehensive reform, the future looks bleak for Ghana’s coastal fisheries as a key provider of nutrition and livelihoods. All indicators suggest that stocks of major species are severely depleted, caused in part by misplaced subsidies, ineffective effort controls and a lack of livelihood alternatives, all of which combine to ensure that growth in fleets will outstrip population growth of stocks. Innovation in fishing techniques ensures that the increase in effective fishing effort is of a magnitude well beyond that of the increase in fishing fleets, greatly compounding issues of unsustainable catch rates. The need for reform is clear, yet the pathway forward is not.
The ICFG project coupled with the future World Bank-funded West Africa Regional Fisheries Program (WARFP) recognize the potential for creating small management units to co-manage a range of fisheries and play a central role in the monitoring of habitats and management of sedentary demersal stocks and estuarine and lagoon systems. The focus is on: 1) articulating the support for co-management elements of reform to the policy framework, and; 2) furthering the capacities of key fisheries constituency groups to support reform, development and implementation of a future co-management initiative.