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The decline of a regional fishing nation: The case of Ghana and West Africa

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Inadequate trade policies, globalization of the fishing industry, dominance of Europe's distant water fleets, declarations of exclusive economic zones (EEZs) by neighbouring West African nations, overfishing and a lack of good governance contributed to the decline of Ghana as a regional fishing nation, a position it had held since the 18th century. The prohibitive cost of access arrangements limited Ghana's access to distant waters. The country's marine environments have been impacted by overexploitation of stocks and the use of destructive methods. Subsistence fishing has become the sole means of survival for many fishers. The decline of the fishing sector has limited the country's ability to meet domestic demand and threatened the economic and food security of many Ghanaians.

The article traces the early history of Ghana's fisheries, their gradual decline during the last four decades, and outlines recommendations for policy changes to address the situation and steer the nation on a course towards sustainable fisheries.

Keywords: Artisanal fisheries; Fisheries; Ghana; International fishing agreements; Trade

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Centre for the Study of Global Issues, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada 2: Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Publication date: February 1, 2004


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