Modelling The Effects of Climate Change on Shellfish Production in Marine Artisanal Fisheries of Ghana
Background: Ghana’s marine artisanal fisheries, particularly the small pelagic fisheries, are in a state of crisis. The decline in the number of small pelagic fish are attributable to overfishing, climate variability and unsustainable fishing methods. Similarly, in the wake of climate change, shellfishes (particularly oysters, scallops and mussels) are highly vulnerable. Methods: A total of 55 years’ worth of data from Ghana’s marine artisanal fisheries were studied in relation to climate indices. The primary objective was to develop a simple linear regression model for predicting shellfish catch in Ghana. Key informant interviews were employed in soliciting data on changes in climate along the coastline and trends in marine artisanal shell fish catch. Results: The predictor variable that significantly explained shellfish production was temperature. Hence, the model is a valuable tool to predict future trends in the shellfish catch in marine artisanal fisheries. Conclusions: Increases in sea surface temperature will adversely affect shellfish production. It is therefore important that the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and other stakeholders should, in their decision-making processes, ensure the formulation of climate smart policies and management strategies for sustainable use of the resource.