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Fisheries Management

A Review of Fisheries-Related Human Migration in the Gulf of Guinea

Migration of fishers and fish workers is common in Africa. It affects the ways the people use and manage natural resources. This paper examines and reviews fisheries driven human migrations in the Gulf of Guinea and offer insight into the developmental implications underlying the immigrant and emigrants fishing activities. Fisheries driven human migration has deep historical in the Gulf of Guinea. It probably started in the sub-region before 15th century. With most fisheries being small-scale, they are exploited under some sort of open access regime, sometimes enforced by modern governments, even though traditionally social mechanisms may have existed to restrict such access. It was realized that migration has both positive and negative effects on communities of destinations as well as migrants’ home countries. Migrants contribute to the GDP of their destination countries and also support their families back. There have been conflicts as results of migrants fishing and in some cases resulted in political interferences. Migrants have limited privileges in some destinations. Migrants in some cases have no rights to own a land. Drawing on some of the generalities across the twelve countries that make up the Gulf of Guinea, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Nigeria are documented and perceived to have had major fisheries-driven human migrations in the sub-region. Traditionally, it is assumed that population is the main driven force behind migration. However, it observed that fisheries–related human migration has other main triggers. Seasonality of fisheries resources due to climate changes and upwelling regimes along the hot spots of Gulf of Guinea coast is possibly the most significant cause of fisherfolks seasonal migration which normally last for a period of 6 months. Socio-economic standings and political stability are major determining factors of long or permanent fisheries-related migration. Long-term migration of fishers spans over years. Fisheries driven migration is male- dominated and it has a clear gender-labour division in the sub-region. The few women who migrate with their husbands are mainly fish processors and fish mongers. The prospects for continued fishers and fish workers migration is high and it anticipated that seasonality of different fisheries regime will dictate the pace tempospatial dynamics of the fisher folks mobility. As there is no clear sign of a halt to fisheries related- human migration in the Gulf of Guinea, the need to raise public awareness and to improve knowledge on the danger of HIV/AIDS on their household and livelihood among fisher folks is also crucial.


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Name of Author(s):
Seth Mensah Abobi and Elliot Haruna Alhassan
Institutional Affiliation:
Type of Publication:
Journal Article
Name of Publisher or Journal:
Journal of Coastal Zone Management
Date of Publication:
Number of Pages: