Socioeconomics and management of small cetacean bycatch in Ghana

Samuel K. K. Amponsah, Berchie A. Asiedu*, Andrews Apraku, Lesley Ntim, Pierre Failler, Samuel Henneh, William Amekor, Rachael Ackah, Koen Van Waerebeek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Small cetacean bycatch in artisanal fisheries and deep-sea fishing operations is a serious and persistent threat to conservation in coastal communities in Ghana. We assessed the bycatch and management of small cetaceans in four coastal communities by administering 73 questionnaires to fishers and recording their catches. Our findings show that dolphin feeding habits, gear attributes and habitat use of targeted finfish species were the main factors driving bycatch of small cetaceans in Ghana. Gear damage and reduced catches were among the effects of bycatch reported by fishers. In addition to direct consumption of small cetacean meat, fishers use them as bait in shark-fishing activities. Our results suggest the livelihood of over 70% of fishers will be threatened if management measures are implemented. Fishers were unaware of the Wildlife Division that manages small cetaceans in Ghana. We recommended that a co-management approach between the government and locals should be adopted when developing and implementing measures for the conservation of small cetaceans. A community awareness programme should be carried out to raise awareness about threats facing these species and the importance of conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-239
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cetacean Research and Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2023


  • bait
  • conservation
  • consumption
  • dolphins
  • fishers
  • fishing gear

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