Decline in fish stock has socio-economic implications – Dr Kassah

Dr Jemimah Etornam Kassah, a fisheries scientist, says unsustainable fishing practices and their resultant decline in the country’s fish stock have dire socio-economic implications for the Ghanaian society.

She said the fisheries sector of Ghana provided both direct and indirect employment to about 10 per cent of the country’s population, therefore, anything that affected the sector would have a rippling effect on the socio-economic lives of people in the value chain.

‘If we have a collapse of the fisheries sector, the people going to be affected are not just the fishermen, but every other player or actor along the value chain, from mechanics to outboard motor repairers to gear developers and boat builders.’

‘All these people are having their livelihoods threatened,’ she said during a Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) media forum on sustainable fishing practices.

Dr Kassah, a Lecturer at the Department of Biology Education, University of Education, Winneba, observed that due to low catches current
ly, families dependent on the fisheries sector were facing a lot of pressure, with some experiencing low-income levels while some women did not get fish to smoke.

‘What happens then in the coastal communities is that there are high levels of depression and people are hypertensive, in addition to other health issues due to increased stress,’ she said.

‘Even though a lot is being done to reduce the rate of child trafficking in Ghana, because of low catches, there have been reports of families in coastal communities having to make their children to serve as domestic servants with other families, which is truncating their schooling, among other things.’

The fisheries scientist said fish had become expensive and if medical officers were advising parents to, for example, add powdered sardinella to the diet of toddlers while the price of herrings had gone up, it would be difficult for low-income mothers to ensure their children got the adequate protein needs.

She added that the situation did not only affect the
fishing communities but also every actor in the value chain, hence the need for the nation to work towards preventing the depletion of the fish stock.

Source: Ghana News Agency