A fishery in distress: an analysis of the small pelagic fishery of Ghana

Berchie Asiedu, Paulina Okpei, Francis Kofi Ewusie Nunoo, Pierre Failler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

208 Downloads (Pure)


The small pelagic fishery contributes substantially to Ghana’s fish production and plays important role in food and nutritional security. However, the resource is under serious threat due to destructive fishing practices, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU), overcapacity of fishing fleets, population growth and climate change. This paper aims to analyse the small pelagic fishery in terms of; mapping of the chain, landings, imports and export, role in food security and management measures to sustain the fishery.

Annual landings and imports of five important small pelagic species were obtained from the database of Fisheries Scientific Survey Division of the Fisheries Commission of Ghana and analysed for the period 1998–2018. In terms of production, 55% of small pelagic stocks are landed fresh by the artisanal canoes, while 26% come from the inshore fleet, 4% from industrial fleet and 15% from imports. These are traded in their fresh (65%), frozen (17%) or processed (18%) forms to several actors along the supply chain on national and international markets. The round sardine and anchovy dominated landings while the Atlantic chub mackerel was characterised by a gradual decrease over the period. Per capita small pelagic fish consumption fluctuated over the period analysed. Imports of small pelagic fish were relatively higher than exports. The decline of these stocks of commercial importance could lead to a domino effect that could diminish the overall contributions to the economy through reduced commercial exports, while at the same time increasing the need for imports, thus threatening the livelihoods and increasing the poverty level of millions of people engaged in the sector and the food security of the nation. Fisheries management authorities should, therefore, as a matter of urgency strengthen fisheries management measures by making clear and bold decisions to reverse the stock decline and to mitigate impacts on society.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104500
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalMarine Policy
Early online date10 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • small pelagics
  • fish stocks
  • food security
  • overcapacity
  • Ghana


Dive into the research topics of 'A fishery in distress: an analysis of the small pelagic fishery of Ghana'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this