Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities on fisheries sustainability: evidence from Lake Volta, Ghana

Berchie Asiedu, Gloria Annor Baah, Prince Baah Annor, Francis Kofi Ewusi Nunoo, Pierre Failler

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The high demand for inland fish in the domestic market makes it an important subsector in the Ghanaian fisheries industry. This, however, poses a challenge for the sustainable management of the inland fishery due to open-access nature. The present study was conducted at an important inland community along the Volta Lake (Yeji) to identify the key activities carried out on the Lake, examined how sustainable these activities are and finally assessed their impact on the harvested fish stocks. Sixty (60) fisher folks were selected from three communities in the Yeji fishing enclave and interviewed using a stratified sampling technique. Additionally, data on Ghana’s inland fish catch and Volta Lake catch was obtained from FAO dataset and Fisheries Commission, Ghana and computed. Findings of the study showed that two-thirds (67%) of major fishing activities carried out on Lake Volta are unsustainable. These include the use of unapproved fishing nets, use of mesh size below the approved size of 2.5 cm, absent of off-day fishing and open-access regime. However, none of the fisher folks practised light fishing. Trend analysis also revealed that the Volta Lake accounts for about 80%-90% of inland fish production. There has been a decline in the quantity of harvested fish stock in the last decade (an average of 7%). The study noted that the gradual fall in the harvested fish catch is largely attributed to the unsustainable fishing practices carried out on the Lake. The study recommended that co-management approach should be adopted to regulate and monitor inland fishery resources as well as enforcement of the fisheries regulations. Moreover, fisheries management plan which has been developed and currently being implemented for the marine subsector should be extended to cover the inland fisheries subsector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-20
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies
Issue number4 Part A
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • inland
  • fishing
  • fishermen
  • fish catch
  • fish sustainability


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