The decline in fisheries resources has resulted in increased poverty, food insecurity and loss of livelihoods in coastal communities. This decline can be addressed through sustainable fisheries governance initiatives which are pivotal to ensuring continued access to fisheries resources.

Hen Mpoano approaches fisheries governance through research, multi-stakeholder engagements and policy advocacy. Our strategy also emphasizes piloting community-based fisheries management initiatives to inform national fisheries policies.  

Read our publications below for more information 

Co-management and Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) (VGGT Principles) and the Volta Clam Fisheries in Ghana

The purpose of this brief is to demonstrate how fisheries co-management and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) are linked in practice and how clam fishers and communities at the Volta river estuary in Ghana are actualizing these concepts on their own without the intervention of government. With funding support from the European Union and UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Hen Mpoano and Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) under the Far Dwuma Nkodo Project have been working with clam fishers at the estuary using novel approaches to support and secure the tenure rights of the clam fishery.

Child Labour and Trafficking in the Central Region and Along the Volta Lake of Ghana: Baseline Survey Report

The main aim of the baseline study was to establish the existing situation of CLaT in the target communities to enable measurement of progress against project-specific targets. The baseline also assisted with targeting interventions in the project locations. 

Project Brief: Preventing CLaT through Peer Learning and Exchange 

Securing Child Rights in the Fisheries Sector in the Central Region and along the Volta Lake in Ghana,  (SECRIFISE) is a 3-year European Union-funded project that seeks to contribute to the prevention of child labour and trafficking (CLaT), protection of
CLaT survivors and prosecution of perpetrators of the act in Ghana. As part of the project’s CLaT prevention strategies in source communities in the Central Region, SECRIFISE facilitated a learning visit by community leaders to a model community (Kpando- Torkor) along the Volta Lake, where anti-CLaT initiatives have proven successful and sustainable in reducing the practice to the barest minimum and where structures exist to systematically remove children from labour and other forms of bondage and reintegrate them into mainstream society.

Securing Child Rights in the Fisheries Sector

Securing Child Rights in the Fisheries Sector in the Central Region and along the Volta Lake of Ghana (SECRIFISE) is a three-year project funded by the European Union and implemented by Hen Mpoano, CEWEFIA and Challenging Heights. The overall objective is to secure child rights in the fisheries sector by increasing public support for eliminating child labour and trafficking (CLaT), supporting the enforcement of anti-CLaT legislation and implementing community-based initiatives for integrating
CLaT victims in mainstream society.

Roundtable to Discuss the International Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure and the Relevance for Ghana’s Fisheries Sector

The aim of the roundtable was to bring together decision-makers and stakeholders to explore how the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) could help to address some of the challenges facing Ghana’s small-scale fisheries sector in the context of the on‐going reform of the national fisheries law framework.

The Problem with “Saiko” An Ecological and Human Catastrophe 

In 2017, an estimated 100,000 tonnes of fish were landed through saiko, 80,000 tonnes of which were landed in the Central Region port of Elmina alone. This equates to around 40% of the total landings of Ghana’s artisanal fishing sector, and more than twice the official landings of small pelagics in the country (Figure 2).  The value of fish traded through saiko in 2017 is estimated at between US$26-41 million (value of fish sold at sea),  with an estimated landed (pre-processing) value of between US$34-65 million. As saiko catches are not reported, this represents a significant loss of state revenue in terms of taxes on landings and fishing licence fees.

Picture Book of Some Elasmobranchs and Billfishes Caught in Ghana

This picture book catalogues some species of elasmobranchs and billfishes landed during the implementation of the project “Enhancing the Management and Conservation of Elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and rays) and Billfishes through improved fisheries data collection and characterization of knowledge on harvest and trade in Ghana”.
This book has been produced as a tool for education and communication with fishermen towards the conservation of elasmobranchs and billfishes in Ghana. It is designed to provide fishermen and fishmongers with basic information on these species.

Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated (IUU) Fishing: The “Saiko” Story

Transshipping of fish is banned in some West African countries, including Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea. In Ghana, the practice is authorized under special permission and can only occur in port under the supervision of an agent of the Fisheries Commission. In recent years, a new form of transhipment developed between industrial vessels and the artisanal canoes, with the canoes buying frozen by-catch from trawlers at sea. Although it is deemed illegal and prohibited under the Fisheries Act 625 of 2002 (Section 132), the business has grown due to its lucrative nature in many coastal communities of Ghana. This is known as ‘SAIKO’ fishing. It is widely practised in some landing sites in the Central, Western and Greater Accra Regions.
As one by-catch collector puts it, “with SAIKO, the harvest is always assured”. The problem of SAIKO is compounded by overfishing, poor public education, greed and weak fisheries law enforcement mechanisms. This brief proposes practical enforcement measures to reduce illegal fishing activities.

Open letter to the President of Ghana by Fishermen

The letter, written by the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen’s Council and 8 NGOs, call on the president to permanently stop Saiko fishing. An illegal and ecologically and socially devastating form of IUU fishing

Fisheries Commission Presentation

PowerPoint presentation made to the Fisheries Commission on The Sustainable Fisheries Management Project.

Small Pelagic Fisheries Data Collection: Orientation training Manual

This training manual is written for persons who have been selected to collect data on Ghana’s small pelagic fishery. It is aimed at introducing fisheries data collectors to the basic protocols for collecting and processing fisheries data. It is intended to foster interactive and participatory learning approaches in the process of data collection.

Small Pelagic Fisheries Data Collection: Orientation Training Report

Report of fisheries profile data collector training. The aim of the two-day training workshop was to orient data collection team to the purpose of assessment and data collection protocol.

Results Of Field Survey For The Small Pelagic

Report of preliminary survey results of a field survey of fishermen and fishmonger/processors. It summarizes the preliminary results of a field survey of fishermen and women in order to provide inputs for a small pelagic fisheries profile to be prepared under the USAID-funded Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP) in Ghana.

Addressing Illegal Fishing through Education and Sensitization for Sustainable Fisheries Management in Ghana

Report of research into illegal transshipment of fish at sea between small-scale canoes fishers and industrial trawlers operating in Ghana, also known as Saiko fishing, is widely practiced in Axim, Elmina and Apam. Majority of fishers in Axim and Apam are aware that Saiko fishing is illegal under the Fisheries Act, Act 625, 2002. However, fishers in these communities consider their practice to be legitimate.

Regional Workshops on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) /Saiko Fishing: Presentations, Discussions and Outcomes of Stakeholder Forum on How to Stop Fish Transshipment by Artisanal Fishermen in Western and Central Regions of Ghana

The regional fisheries stakeholders’ workshops form part of the project on Addressing Illegal Fishing through Education and Sensitization of Stakeholders for Sustainable Fisheries Management in Ghana. It is a direct follow-up activity to the rapid assessment of the status of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) with respect to Saiko fishing in 3 landing beaches at Apam, Elmina and Axim.

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) / Saiko Fishing Sensitization Strategy Workshop: Proceedings and Final Sensitization Strategy

The Sensitization Strategy Workshop is a direct follow-up to the Regional Fisheries workshop organized in the Central and Western Region on the 27th January 2015 and 3rd February 2015 respectively. It was organized in Takoradi, Western Region on 17th February 2015.

Analysis of the Adequacy of Legislative Framework in Ghana to Support Fisheries Co-management and Suggestions for a Way Forward

This report has been prepared to support the implementation of the Integrated Coastal and Fisheries Governance Initiative, referred to locally as Hen Mpoano, led by the Coastal Resources Center of the University of Rhode Island and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. One of the components of the Fisheries Governance Initiative is the development of an appropriate and supportive institutional framework to implement fisheries co-management in Ghana.

The Nearshore Rocky Reefs of Western Ghana, West Africa: Baseline ecological research survey

Ghana’s coastal region supports productive fisheries that provide a major supply of protein and significant economic support to the nation. Over the decades poor fisheries governance and management – in large part due to the open access nature of the fisheries, overfishing and the use of destructive fishing methods – have led to marked declines in fisheries landings.  With the majority of studies focusing on the more productive and commercially more important pelagic and deep demersal environments, ecological information on the near shore rocky reef habitats (NSRH) of Ghana and West Africa in general is very limited. The present study fills this knowledge gap, by investigating the general status of the NSRH and fisheries of western Ghana, providing baseline information on the fish, invertebrate and benthic communities.

Ghana Coastal Fisheries Governance Dialogue: Presentations, Discussions and Outcomes from a Stakeholder Forum on Issues for Reforming Governance of Ghana’s Coastal Fisheries

The Fisheries Governance Dialogue highlighted that much common ground exists between fisheries stakeholders in their understanding of the need for reform. A critical point emphasized by this meeting was the need for ongoing dialogue to ensure that the voices of all stakeholders are considered in the process of designing and implementing co-management and nested systems. As momentum for implementing co-management builds, such dialogue needs to occur on a more regular basis than has been provided for by the two Fisheries Governance Dialogue meetings held to date. Conversations following the dialogue have led to a proposal for a Fisheries Co-Management Working Group to be convened in Accra. The objectives of this group would be to build on lessons highlighted in the dialogue, co-ordinate efforts at piloting co-management systems, and provide a forum to consolidate learning from such pilots.

Presentation made at the Conference on Fisheries and Coastal Environment (The Accra Conference 2017): Towards a Community-Based Management Plan for Ankobra River Estuarine Fishery

Co-management or collaborative management is a promising means of improving resource conditions, particularly, where centralized fisheries management is a challenge. In collaborative management, authority and responsibility for managing fisheries resources are shared between government and resource users. A pilot community-based fisheries management planning process for the Ankobra River estuary was initiated under the auspices of the USAID-funded Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP). During this process, rapid rural appraisals were conducted; estuarine fish species were inventoried and prioritized by resource users on the basis of food security importance and commercial value. Subsequently, a management committee which was constituted led the identification of fishing grounds and development of management measures such as closed seasons and closed areas for the priority species. The information gathered was used to prepare a community-based fisheries management plan for the Ankobra River estuary. The process used in this pilot project is proving to be a successful and useful approach for managing the fisheries of small systems such as estuaries and lagoons.

Synthesis of Scientific and Local Knowledge on Sardinella species in Ghana

Scientific information about the Sardinella species in Ghana is scattered throughout many hard to find journals, workshop reports and grey literature. Much of the scientific literature is dominated by information about the northern West African Sardinella stock, not the stock in the Gulf of Guinea that is subject to different environmental conditions that might affect biological properties and behavioral patterns. Extensive review of available information was conducted using search engines (such as Google Scholar and SCOPUS) and universities and is summarized in this document.