Fisheries in Ghana constitute an important sector in national economic development, and are estimated to contribute 3 percent of the total GDP and 5 percent of the GDP in agriculture. Fish is a cheaper and preferred source of animal protein contributing about 60 percent of animal protein intake in Ghana. Ghana fish production has been fluctuating but generally on the decline since 2000 from 460,000 MT down to 436,000 MT in 2008. While the national average fish requirement is approximately 800,000 metric tons annually, the domestic fish catch (production) and imports only provide about half of this requirement. Ghana is thus a large net importer of seafood and in 2007 Ghana imported fish worth $260 million, up from $209 million in 2006.
Ghanaians perceive U.S. seafood to be of a higher quality than other supplies, although high freight rates often make imports from the U.S. uncompetitive. Ghana’s seafood imports are mostly from the African region (Mauritania, Angola, Morocco, Namibia and Senegal). The EU especially Holland also supplies seafood to Ghana. However Ghana exports some fresh tuna and processed canned tuna.
Sea food /frozen fish Data from 2006-2008 ( ‘000 MT)
Total Market size
Imports from the US
Source: Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Estimates from industry sources.
Commercial fish farming as a major farming activity in Ghana is a recent development that has caught on in the past few years. Presently there are six commercial aquaculture farms operating in Ghana. In the last five years aquaculture production has increased from 950 MT in 2003 to 5,600 MT in 2008 as a result of proliferation of commercial fish farming especially the cage farms on the Volta Lake. There is a new aquaculture company supported by the Danish government that is expected to produce over 5,000 MT of fish in the near future. Tilapia is the major species farmed and constitutes over 80 percent of aquaculture production, with catfish accounting for the remaining 20 percent. It has been estimated that the production from ponds and culture-based fisheries is worth about US$ 1.5 million a year.
As a result of GOG collaboration with local and external stakeholders (including local farmers, local companies, World Bank, WHO, FAO, NEPAD, etc), local production of aquaculture has been increasing. According to the Minister of Fisheries, Ghana is aggressively pursuing ‘the Aquaculture Development Policy’ as a profitable business venture. However, growth in the sector is being threatened by increasing costs of aquaculture feedstuffs which now constitute more than 70 percent of total cost of production. Currently fish feed is being imported from Israel. This opens export market opportunity for U.S. fish aquaculture feedstuffs, feed ingredients and technology into Ghana.