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Climate change risk and adaptation for fisher communities in Ghana

Artisanal fisheries in Ghana account for more than two-thirds of the country’s food fish production and employ or support up to 2 million people. However, many fish stocks are close to collapse through overexploitation, especially stocks such as sardinella that are a staple food for Ghanaians. Climate change is expected to affect the fish themselves as well as fishing activities, increasing the already high risk to fishers’ livelihoods and Ghana’s food security. Here, we use a climate change risk assessment framework to assess vulnerability of Ghanaian fisheries, considering climate hazards, fish species sensitivity and socio-economic vulnerability of different fisheries sectors and regions. The results show that some of the species that constitute the highest catches in Ghana are highly sensitive to climate change, such as snappers, Congo dentex and groupers. Some species assessed as having low sensitivity to climate change in the region are migratory pelagic fish, including tuna. Species caught by artisanal fleets are typically more sensitive than those captured by semi-industrial and industrial fleets. Regionally, the highest climate risk is found for Volta in the east, and the lowest for the Greater Accra region, along the central part of the coastline. This information can be used to identify, with stakeholders, the climate adaptation actions that are most suitable for the different regions and fisheries sectors. Actions can be tailored to the different aspects of climate risk, helping the country to achieve its aims of restoring fish stocks, safeguarding livelihoods and improving climate resilience for Ghana’s artisanal fishers.

Open Access