More Than Income Alone: The Anlo-Ewe Beach Seine Fishery in Ghana
Ghanaian artisanal fisheries have dominated the West African coastal region for over 100 years. Due to natural conditions (upwelling) in the Gulf of Guinea, Ghanaian fishers have long been migrating to follow the fish. While migrating, they spread their technical knowledge of boat building and fishing, as well as knowledge of management institutions to other coastal communities. Fish stocks in West Africa – and in Ghana – are now in crisis. Due to declining catches, the contributions that fisheries make to poverty reduction are becoming threatened. This chapter describes the history and current situation of the Anlo-Ewe beach seine fishers, one of the coastal ethnic groups involved in fishing. This chapter presents four main findings: (1) fishing in West Africa is not always a last resort activity – which has often been suggested; (2) artisanal fisheries have been very profitable; (3) fisheries mean more to fishers than earning money – it is a way of life; and (4) policies aimed at providing “alternative” livelihoods for fishers to solve problems of resource scarcity are likely to be unsuccessful. This chapter concludes by pointing out how the inclusion of strong artisanal fisheries in fisheries governance is crucial for preventing stock depletion and growing poverty.