Hεn MPOANO: Western Ghana Integrated Coastal and Fisheries Governance

Children play on fishing canoe in Ghana. (credit: CRC)
Children play on fishing canoe in Ghana. (credit: CRC)

The Integrated Coastal and Fisheries Governance Initiative project (ICFG)  was a four-year project supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented through a cooperative agreement with the CRC with principal implementing partners, including the WorldFish Center, SustainaMetrix and Friends of the Nation. The goal of the initiative was to support the government in achieving its development objectives of poverty reduction, food security, sustainable fisheries management and biodiversity conservation.

The Initiative used integrated coastal management as the organizing framework and encompassed several themes that are hallmarks of CRC’s integrated approach. The initiative addressed six key challenges: creating a coastal and marine governance program for the Western Region; addressing fisheries governance issues in the region; improving the governance of coastal resources in the focal areas of Shama District, Cape Three Points and the Amanzule Wetlands and undertaking a major communications, outreach and capacity building effort.

Among the project achievements:

The Shama District adopted Ghana’s first shoreline management plan, including flood mitigation. The Ahanta West District approved byelaws for wetlands conservation in four critical regions. Both have become national models.

The Western Region became a model for fisheries law enforcement, with 15 out of 18 cases successfully prosecuted in 2012. The program addressed weak compliance and enforcement, ignorance, lack of trust and collaboration  All parties along the prosecution chain were involved, with training provided on effective and efficient handling of prosecutions. Complementing this work, the nation’s newly revived Marine Police Unit was supported in their development of new competences, including community relations and communication.

The development of five toolkits for each of the districts in the Western Region to serve as catalogs summarizing the district’s marine and coastal information. The toolkits were created through a bottom-up, participatory process at the local level. Each includes links to source material, case studies, technical information and suggestions for projects that incorporate integrated coastal management and were designed to be replicable in other communities.

The weekly radio drama “Biribireba” became a successful means of behavior change communication, combining entertainment with knowledge dissemination. The program was set in a fictional coastal fishing community and dramatized the issues facing actual communities. “Biribireba” reached an estimated 2.5 million Ghanaians and was complemented by listener call-ins to discuss topics featured in episodes as well as panel discussions with community leaders and fisheries and natural resource experts.