Hεn MPOANO: Western Ghana Integrated Coastal and Fisheries Governance

Fisheries Governance Documents from the Ghana Integrated Coastal and Fisheries Governance Project

Fisheries Governance Documents

A wide range of policy analysis and proposals, technical studies and capacity development events are captured in reports by CRC staff and key partners WorldFish and Friends of the Nation.


Legislative change is needed in the form of an amendment to the Fisheries Act of 2002 that adds a co-management section as well as fisheries co-management legislation that sets standards and procedures to implement such a plan in Ghana. Such legislation should include explicit language to support the creation of adaptive co-management frameworks at different scales as previously outlined. This needs to include clear roles and responsibilities of the Fisheries Commission regarding the co-management committees. Jurisdictional boundaries (maritime and/or geographical) need to be made explicit to coincide with the authorities granted to co-management committees and user groups. The legislation needs to provide explicit authority of the Fisheries Commission to allocate use rights, where necessary, but with a caveat that such rights come with responsibilities for conservation, environmental protection (e.g. protection of endangered species and critical habitats) and contributions to Ghana’s societal goals as spelled out in national fisheries policy. The Fisheries Commission must also be mandated to establish by legislation criteria concerning these responsibilities and conditions under which use rights can be granted or suspended.

In the short term, the Fisheries Act 2002 can support a limited form of co-management through the establishment of fisheries advisory committees/groups without the need to amend the legislation. However, such committees/groups will have no decision-making powers. In the longer term, however, legislative change either through (a) amendment to the Fisheries Act 2002 by adding a new part on co-management and (b) accompanied by an appropriate Legislative Instrument on co-management will be necessary to implement effective fisheries co-management framework for Ghana.

This brief proposes a dual structure for adaptive fisheries co-management. Building upon the disappointments of earlier attempts at community based fisheries management, it recognizes the differences inherent in the management of highly migratory pelagics while encouraging local management units to develop and implement plans that improve conditions at landing sites and manage artisanal fisheries for non-migratory species in selected near-shore areas.

Ghana Coastal Fisheries Governance Dialogue: Presentations, discussions and outcomes from a stakeholder forum on issues for reforming governance of Ghana’s coastal fisheries. The second national Fisheries Governance Dialogue aimed to help stakeholders in the fisheries sector generate a shared understanding of critical lessons and pathways for fisheries co-management success in Ghana. The dialogue was held in direct response to the call from both fisheries communities and the government of Ghana for a radical change from the way fisheries resources are currently being managed.

The Third National Fisheries Governance Dialogue was a direct follow up on the Second National Fisheries Governance Dialogue held in Elmina in April 2012. It was agreed at the Second dialogue that co-management was the way forward for sustaining Ghana’s fisheries and that its success would depend on a supportive legal framework (Mills et al., 2012).The Third Fisheries Dialogue aimed to: inform stakeholders of the outcomes from the stakeholder consultation process, inform stakeholders on outcomes of the policy analysis, and the steps required to move towards a supportive legal environment for co-management, and provide a forum for discussions of ideas that could feed into the development of a co-management structure and legal framework for Ghana.


The objective of this report is to share the preliminary results of WorldFish activities related to these components of the capacity development program. The report first introduces WorldFish approach to capacity development. It then presents the main activities conducted by the Center in 2011: • Training: technical skills for adaptive management of small scale fisheries (May 2011) • Assessing organizational capacity of partners to implement adaptive management. • Creation and strengthening of learning networks through study tours – a positive deviance approach. • Through community meeting and a workshop promotion of reflective learning and building the capacity of partners in the identification and design of projects using a “result-based management” approach

Fishers changing from multifilament to monofilament nets include perceptions of higher catch efficiency, lower relative cost and ease of use. Commonly stated disadvantages to fishing with monofilament versus multifilament nets is that they take up more space in the fishing boat and in some cases are said to be less durable overall and require more frequent repair than multifilament mesh. Case studies from across the world highlight measures or restrictions that can be applied (sometimes concurrently) to net fisheries to avoid conflicts with other fisheries, to reduce the catch of non‐target or juvenile species, to control fishing capacity, to help recover fish stocks and/or to keep the fishery operating at sustainable levels. Globally the need for buybacks, sometimes called decommissioning schemes, generally arises due to poorly structured property rights, particularly in situations of open access or no property rights. Buybacks, can be used for many reasons36 but in general are used to reduce over‐capacity that has lead to overexploitation or economic inefficiency. Without careful planning expensive buyback programmes may have negative consequences. Employing some clear design principles can help to lead to positive impacts on fisheries and for fishers from buyback schemes.

This report is the result of the livelihoods baseline survey as part of the USAID-funded Integrated Coastal and Fisheries Governance (ICFG) Program for the Western Region of Ghana (Hen Mpoano). The survey aims to provide a baseline for interventions to be implemented as part of the Hen Mpoano project by: 1. Establishing a baseline of the status of livelihoods of households in target communities (assess income levels and sources, seasonality issues, assets, vulnerability) 2. Establishing a simplified nutritional baseline of households in target communities and fish species consumed 3. Identifying opportunities for livelihood diversification in the target opportunities Income diversification is a means to cope with risks and seasonality related to agriculture and fisheries. Poverty is multi-dimensional as it not only relates to income and consumption levels, but also to a lack of basic needs (access to shelter, health, and sanitation) and the ability to cope with shocks. Understanding poverty therefore requires the analysis to go beyond measuring income, to include factors such as education levels, health status, ownership and control over capital, financial and natural assets and access to social networks. The livelihoods survey conducted for the Hen Mpoano project aimed to encompass all these dimensions.

Livelihood diversification in the fishing communities in Ghana’s Western Region requires a focused effort to develop oil or tourism in a way that creates local employment and encourage people to exit fishing, leaving a less-crowded sector, more amenable to gradual change, with a more educated younger generation shifting into other sectors and places.

Ecological information on the near shore rocky reef habitats (NSRH) of Ghana is very limited. The present study fills this knowledge gap, by investigating the general status of the NSRH and fisheries of western Ghana, and providing baseline information on the fish, invertebrate and benthic communities.

A rapid appraisal conducted in nine (9) main landing sites in the Nzema East and Ahanta West districts between 14th and 21st September 2010. The communities visited were, Ankobra (Sanwoma), Apewosika (suburb of Axim), Miamia, Princess Akatakyi, Cape Three Points, Akwidaa, Dixcove, Busua and Butre. The purpose of this assessment was to ascertain primary information of the spawning and fishing grounds among others. The research team was made up of two persons; a staff of the Western Regional branch of the Ghana Canoe Fishermen Association and a staff of the Friends of the Nation. Data was collected through focus group discussions, participatory mapping, direct observations and key informants interviews. This report summarizes the key findings from the assessment.

The assessment of the smoked marine fish value chain assessment in the Western Region, Ghana concludes that there does not seem to be any significant market at present for a premium smoked product. It discusses possible risks with any change to the status quo and makes suggestions for pilot scale interventions.

This report concludes that any attempt to promote fisheries development and fisheries management reform in Ghana’s Western Region must address a wide range of issues, including an understanding of the dynamics of the fishery, solutions for improved management, promoting pro-poor livelihood opportunities, and building a stronger constituency to tackle these issues in transparent and equitable ways.


This report compiles the proceedings of the training workshop that was organized to introduce and deepen the participants’ conceptual base and understanding of the adaptive co-management concept and equip them with necessary skills for implementing it in practice.

The workshop Community Leadership Training: Strengthening Community Leadership Capacity for Sustainable Resource Management was organized as part of the initiatives effort to strengthen capacity of stakeholders to participate in co-management of fisheries. The workshop aimed to equip community leaders with leadership skills for their effective participation in fisheries adaptive co-management, which has been identified by national fisheries stakeholders as the best way forward for reversing the downward trend in fisheries production in Ghana.

A 3 half-day training workshop was held March 15-17, 2011 at the Western Naval Command Headquarters, Sekondi for fisheries stakeholders, namely, the Fisheries Commission, Ghana Navy, Ghana Police, Attorney General’s Department. Participants discussed issues within the sector and deliberate on how to improve on prosecution success. This was followed by two different review sessions. In order to achieve increased success rate of prosecution, diverse methodologies were employed during the capacity building workshops and review meetings. The facilitators used a combination of methodologies that enhanced effective impact and transfer of competence and skills. This elicited inputs and promoted sharing of experiences among participants throughout the sessions. The structure used to deliver the sessions included interactive presentations, brainstorming, discussions, as well as questions and answers. Participants shared wide range of perspectives and analyses on issues that emerged from the presentations.

In order to sustain the socio-economic benefits from coastal resources and biodiversity, there was the need for a collaborative approach to management rather than leaving the Fisheries Commission to single-handedly manage the fisheries and coastal resources. A Fisheries Working Group (FWG) was therefore catalyzed by the ICFG Initiative. Its members were carefully selected to comprise representatives of Fishers and State Regulators of the fishing industry, to play an advisory role among others to the Fisheries Commission relative to policy and management issues. In addition to this, the FWG sought to address ineffective communications among fishers and stakeholders including the Petroleum industry.

The Hen Mpoano Initiative discussed with the Fisheries Commission and the Ghana Police Service (GPS) on ways to support aspects of the training of the newly assembled officers of the MPU on the ecological justifications of the Fisheries Regulations. Approval was sought from USAID to organize short training modules for the unit. A curriculum for the training was approved by the GPS, FC and USAID which paved the way for the training workshop. It consisted of series of lectures, group assignments, presentations and discussions, role plays, and field visits to fish landing sites and fishing communities. The visits were important for the Marine Police Officers (MPOs) as that inducted them into the communities.

This document reports on a WorldFish team activity aimed at planning community engagement for the ICFG initiative. Specifically, the effort helped design a community fora plan for 2012 to be discussed with the project team in Sekondi, including terms of references for the project fisherfolk consultants. Also described are recommendations for supporting material for the community fora to be used by the fisherfolk consultants and tested in the field, along with conducting two community fora in selected study sites.

A workshop on Fisheries Law and Regulations in Ghana was held on 17 – 18 December, 2012, at the Volta River Authority (VRA) Conference Hall, Shama. The workshop aimed to raise awareness and deepen participants’ understanding of the Fisheries Law and Regulations and their ecological justifications. Ghana’s national fisheries statistics shows that marine fish production has generally been on the decline for the past two decades. The case is not different from what the fishers themselves said during recent surveys conducted in coastal fishing communities in the Western Region of Ghana. Ghana Statistical Service, in January 2013, reiterated that the contribution of fisheries to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has declined and the fisheries sub-sector was one of the worst performers in the year 2012 as far as the economy of the country was concerned. Signs are clear and more people in Ghana are beginning to appreciate that fisheries in Ghana are heading towards a crisis. It is apparent that without reforms in fisheries management in Ghana, the future of the goods and services provided by fisheries in Ghana are by no means assured.