Socio-economic and Biological Assessment of Fish Transhipment (Saiko) at Elmina, Ghana
Fish transhipment has grown rapidly in recent years due to its lucrative nature in some coastal communities in Ghana. It is increasingly gaining grounds due to weak monitoring, regulatory enforcement and the profitability of the trade. However, it is prohibited under certain conditions in the Fisheries Act 625 Section 132 of Ghana. The aim of this research is to contribute to scientific knowledge for law enforcement on illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing practices with specific reference to Saiko in Elmina. The study sought to assess catch composition, growth parameters catch per unit effort, the economic viability of this business, and develop a market map of the Saiko trade. Twenty-four (24) fish slabs of approximately 11 Kg per slab were sampled for the biological assessment over a period of six (6) months from November, 2016-June 2017. Also, the study employed a descriptive survey design based on interviews, targeted at Saiko fishers and processors within the population. In all eighteen (18) Saiko fishers and forty-nine (49) fish processors engaged in the Saiko trade were interviewed following the snowball method. The study revealed that the small pelagics constituted 55% of the fish landings, the family Carangidae dominated the species landed with Decapterus punctatus (17%) and Decapterus rhoncus (24%) having the highest proportions. It was deduced that there is a positive correlation between quantities of fish landed and canoe size. It was observed that the trawlers not only encroach in the inshore zone but also landed juvenile pelagic species in the range of 3.0-26.0cm of which most were below the legal size limits for those species as stated by the Fisheries Act 625, 2002. It was concluded also that body weight highly correlated with standard length and all specimens studied, exhibited an isometric growth pattern. There was at least five members in a crew, who spent at least 12 hours at sea, use at
least 76 gallons of fuel per trip and on average go to the sea two times per week. Saiko trade was a capital intensive enterprise but very profitable with fishers making GH₵91,000.00 a year. It was established that Elmina is the hub of Saiko fishery. Again, Saiko fishes are traded mostly within the southern to middle part of Ghana and Wa was the only point of sale far from the coast. It was recommended that there should be efforts to engage more Saiko fishers in the
research to help curtail the problem. Also efforts should be made to reduce legitimacy of the Saiko operations.