Fisherman throws the net to catch fish in the Gulf of Guinea, Jamestown, Accra. Due to illegal fishing trawlers, unsustainable fishing practices like the use of dynamite and light fishing, the fish stock is depleting in the Gulf of Guinea, raising huge concerns for the local fishing communities that depend on fishing and who are facing an ever-increasing challenge to feed their families.
Eric Quaye Ade, a Ghanaian fisherman, sits in his boat in the waters at the Gulf of Guinea where he has been working for almost 20 years.
Fishermen friends gatherd together on a Sunday afternoon in Jamestown, Accra
Fish vendor Mercy Allotey waits at the beachfront in Ghana's capital Accra for customers to buy the freshest catch brought in by the brightly-coloured dugout canoes plying the coast.But she complains the local fishermen are now netting less and less as a combination of illegal techniques and unscrupulous trawlers have devastated stocks.
Littlle boy playing on the fishing boat in Jamestown, Accra
Jamestown pier, the remnant of Ghana's colonial past. Fishermen gatther on the pier to fix the nets and sell the catch of the day.
Ismael Quaye the fisherman from Jamestown, has been fishing for almost for 26 years. He returns back from sea and brings his wooden canoe on the shore of Jamestown.
Jamestown, the oldest fishing community in Accra.
Samuel Niiquaye Dsane, the elder fisherman from Jamestown is responsible for monitoring the fishing in Jamestown. Lightfishing and the use of dynamite is illegal in Ghana but many fishermen are still using these practices. Niiquaye wants fair fishing conditions for all fishermen in Ghana.
In a bid to replenish stocks, Ghana's government banned artisanal fishing for a month.
Jamestown fishing community, Accra, Ghana.
The fishing sector is crucially important to this West African nation. It provides support for more than two million people, up to 10 percent of the population, and the produce it generates accounts for about 60 percent of the protein in the diet of Ghanaians. But the figures are startling. United Nations data shows that production fell from almost 420,000 tonnes in 1999 to 202,000 tonnes in 2014. To blame are both the mainly Chinese-operated boats trawling offshore and the damaging practices employed by artisanal fishermen as they scramble to make up for losses. The report estimated some 100,000 tonnes of fish were scooped out of the water in this way in 2017, drastically reducing employment opportunities for Ghanaians reliant on fishing. Ghana is looking to crack down on saiko as well as illegal practices employed by local fishermen including using bright lights to attract fish, poisoning them with chemicals or even tossing dynamite into the water. In a bid to replenish stocks the government banned artisanal fishing for a month in 2019. But even those in charge admit a lot more needs to be done to rectify the situation. Story for AFP, Words by Stacey Knott