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Africa: Chronicling Climate Change

Sitting on Ghana’s Apam beach, fisherman Nana Ekow Pasnin is worried about his family’s future. His canoe just returned without a single fish, after spending a marathon 12 hours in the sea. He has never seen such an acute fish shortage in the Atlantic Ocean in his 40 years of fishing. “Earlier, we could easily fill up the 150 crates in our canoe in every trip. Today, we consider ourselves fortunate if we are able to fill just 20 crates, and such an occasion arises only once or twice a year,” says Pasnin. He says that in the past two decades or so, there has been a rapid decline in small pelagic fish in Ghana’s waters .

These fish, which includes species like sardinella, sardines, anchovy and mackarel, are found near the surface and closer to shore and form an important basis of livelihood to the country’s 210,000 artisanal fisherfolk and another 2.1 million employed in allied industires. “In 2015, the county recorded the lowest small pelagic production of 19,608 tonnes. This was 14 per cent of the production in 1996, when the highest small pelagic production was recorded,” says Socrates Apetorgbor, fisheries specialist with the sustainable fisheries management project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).


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