To ensure that benefits from capture fisheries accrue to nationals, fisheries regulations and acts prioritize local access and harvest rights in near and distant waters within a nation’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The lack of local capital to finance industrial fishing, such as trawling, has compelled developing coastal countries’ fishermen to access foreign investment through contractual agreement such as hire-purchases. In Ghana, this provision in the Fisheries Act (Act 625) has inadvertently granted foreign owners de facto ‘recurring’ ownership and control rights over the trawl fisheries, with the nationals holding fishing licences retaining de jure rights. The insecurity of the de facto rights may result in overfishing and stock depletion. Using data collected with the Fisheries Performance Indicators (FPIs) toolkit, the ecological, economic, and community outcomes of the industrial trawl fishery in Ghana are analysed and compared with the continent’s average performances. Except for community (social) outcomes, which were high and marginally exceeded Africa’s average, the overall ecological sustainability and the associated economic outcomes are performing at suboptimal levels.
Efd Discussion Paper 20-31