Ghana Faces Looming Fish Shortage: Can Aquaculture Save the Day?


Ghana’s love affair with fish could turn into a struggle for survival by 2030. A new study by the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) paints a worrying picture: Ghanaians’ growing appetite for fish is on a collision course with a shrinking supply.

Professor Berchie Asiedu, Dean of the School of Natural Resources at UENR, warns that the nation’s fish consumption is projected to skyrocket to a staggering 888,096 tonnes by 2030. However, domestic fish production is expected to fall woefully short, meeting only 43% of this rising demand. This imbalance translates to a significant supply shortfall, raising concerns about hunger and malnutrition.

The situation is further complicated by a decline in per capita fish consumption, despite the overall increase in national demand. At the current growth rate, Ghanaians are likely to be eating less fish per person in 2030 (23.9 kg) compared to 2018 (28 kg). This seemingly contradictory trend can be explained by population growth outpacing domestic fish production.

The importance of fish in Ghana cannot be overstated. It’s the cheapest and most consumed source of animal protein, accounting for a whopping 60% of the national intake. This explains the surge in demand witnessed in recent years, with consumption rising from 960,000 tonnes in 2010 to 1.1 million tonnes in 2020. Per capita consumption also mirrored this trend, climbing from 24.2 kg to 27.9 kg during the same period.

Professor Asiedu emphasizes the urgency of addressing this looming crisis. He calls for immediate policy changes to accelerate the development of Ghana’s aquaculture sector, the controlled farming of fish and other aquatic animals. This includes implementing sustainable fisheries management practices to conserve wild fish stocks and exploring strategies to help fishers adapt to the challenges posed by climate change.

Hanson Kodzo Dzamefe, Bono Regional Director of the Fisheries Commission, echoes Professor Asiedu’s concerns. He highlights the need to reduce Ghana’s over-reliance on marine fish and calls for stronger private sector collaboration to boost the aquaculture industry.

Dzamefe sees aquaculture as a double-edged sword, offering a solution to the fish shortage while simultaneously creating millions of jobs within the inland fishing value chain, especially if investments are made in the sector. He encourages unemployed youth and graduates to consider venturing into commercial fish production. Aquaculture presents a lucrative business opportunity that can not only improve individual livelihoods but also contribute significantly to Ghana’s national food security.

Can Ghana bridge the widening gap between fish demand and supply? The answer may lie in a strategic shift towards a robust and well-developed aquaculture sector. By embracing innovative fish farming practices and fostering private sector involvement, Ghana can ensure a healthy and sustainable future for its people, with fish remaining a staple on their plates.

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