Assessment of Vulnerability and Coping Livelihood Strategies of Fishermen in Elmina, Ghana

  • Selorm A Dzantor University of Cape Coast
  • Denis W Aheto University of Cape Coast
  • Comfort O Adeton University of Cape Coast
Keywords: Coastal Communities, Coping, Fishermen, Livelihood, Strategies, Vulnerability


This study assessed the vulnerability and coping livelihood strategies of fishermen within the context of declining marine fisheries in Elmina, Ghana. One hundred and fifty-five (155) fishermen were purposively selected for questionnaire interviews from January to March 2017. The results showed that most of the fishermen depended heavily on fishing as a major source of livelihood. Nonetheless, their income levels were trifled due to declining fisheries. The vulnerability index of the community proved to be significantly high. The coping livelihood strategies were largely informal, comprising farming and trading, among others. A little over half of the fishermen were willing to leave the fishing sector for different livelihoods, given other prospects. It is concluded that improving livelihoods in the community will require strengthening supplementary livelihood occupations, and educating fishers on the dangers of using illicit fishing methods are required for the growth of the sector and enhancement of income levels of fishermen.


Download data is not yet available.


Aheto, D. W., Asare, N. K., Quaynor, B., Tenkorang, E. Y., Asare, C., & Okyere, I. (2012). Profitability of small-scale fisheries in Elmina, Ghana. Sustainability, 4(11), 2785-2794.

Aheto, D. W., Mensah, E., Aggrey-Fynn, J., Obodai, E. A., Mensah, C. J., Okyere, I., & Aheto, S. P. K. (2011). Spatio-temporal analysis of two coastal wetland systems in Ghana: Addressing ecosystem vulnerability and implications for fisheries development in the context of climate and land use changes. Archives of Applied Science Research, 3(3), 499-513.

Allison, E. H., & Ellis, F. (2001). The livelihoods approach and management of small-scale fisheries. Marine Policy, 25(5), 377-388.

Ansah-Koi, N. A. (2008). Ibi Tse Yie (Some people are better off): Wealth re-distribution mechanisms in the coastal town Moree, Ghana. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Aphunu, A., & Nwabeze, G. O. (2012). Fish farmers’ perception of climate change impact on fish production in Delta State, Nigeria. Journal of Agricultural Extension, 16(2), 1-13.

Béné, C. (2003). When fishery rhymes with poverty: A first step beyond the old paradigm on poverty in small-scale fisheries. World Development, 3(1), 949-975.

Blaikie, P., Cannon, T., Davis, I., & Wisner, B. (2014). At risk: natural hazards, people's vulnerability and disasters. Routledge.

Bunce, M., Rosendo, S., & Brown, K. (2010). Perceptions of climate change, multiple stressors and livelihoods on marginal African coasts. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 12(3), 407-440.

Charles, A. T. (2001). Sustainable fishery systems. Oxford: Blackwell Science.

Claire, I. (2004). Alternative sustainable livelihoods for coastal communities: A review of experience and guide to best practice. London: IUCN.

Daw, T., Cinner, J. E., McClanahan, T. R., Brown, K., Stead, S. M., Graham, N. A. J., & Maina, J. (2012). To fish or not to fish: Factors at multiple scales affecting artisanal fishers; readiness to exit a declining fishery. PLoS One 7(2), 34-40.

De Haan, A. (1999). Livelihoods and poverty: The role of migration: A critical review of the migration literature. The Journal of Development Studies, 36(2), 1-47.

De Jong, G. F., & Gardner, R. W. (Eds.). (2013). Migration decision making: multidisciplinary approaches to microlevel studies in developed and developing countries. Elsevier.

Department for International Development (DFID). (2000). Sustainable livelihoods guidance sheets. London: Department for International Development. Available at .

Fisheries Act 2002 (Act 625). Government of Ghana Publisher.

Fjellheim, A., & Johnsen, B. O. (2001). Experiences from stocking salmonid fry and fingerlings in Norway. Nordic Journal of Freshwater Research, 20-36.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). (2006). The State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture. Rome: FAO.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). (2008). Climate change and food security: A conceptual document. Rome, Italy: Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). (2008). Soaring food prices: facts, perspectives, impacts and actions required. In High Level Conference on World Food Security: The Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy, 3–5 June 2008. FAO, Rome.

Fraga J., Salas S., & Mexicano-Cíntora, G. (2008). La Pesca en Yucatán: de la abundancia a la escasez, a la fragilidad de las estructuras Institucionales. In: Fraga J., Villalobos G. J., Doyon S., Gracía, A. (eds.), Gobernanza costera en México: descentralización y manejo ambiental en la península de Yucatán. CINVESTAV-IPN, Unidad Mérida, Universidad Autónoma de Campeche, IDRC, México, pp 179–201.

GIS unit of Department of Geography and Regional Planning, University of Cape Coast, 2017.

Harter, D. E., Irl, S. D., Seo, B., Steinbauer, M. J., Gillespie, R., Triantis, K. A., ... & Beierkuhnlein, C. (2015). Impacts of global climate change on the floras of oceanic islands–Projections, implications and current knowledge. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 17(2), 160-183.

Hinz, H., Prieto, V., & Kaiser, M. J. (2009). Trawl disturbance on benthic communities: chronic effects and experimental predictions. Ecological Applications, 19(3), 761-773.

International Organisation for Migration. (2016). Global Migration Trends 2015 Factsheet. Retrieved from files/global_migration_trends_2015_factsheet.pdf.

Iwasaki, S., Razafindrabe, B. H. N., & Shaw, R. (2009). Fishery livelihoods and adaptation to climate change: a case study of Chilika lagoon, India. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 14(4), 339-355.

Johnson, T. (2012). Fisheries Adaptations to Climate Change. Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Programme, 1-8.

Kaiser, M. J., Collie, J. S., Hall, S. J., Jennings, S., & Poiner, I. R. (2002). Modification of marine habitats by trawling activities: prognosis and solutions. Fish and Fisheries, 3(2), 114-136.

Knoke, D., & Yang, S. (2008). Social network analysis (Vol. 154). Sage.

Kydd, J., & Dorward A (2001). The Washington consensus on poor country agriculture: Analysis, prescriptions and institutional gaps. Development Policy Review, 19(5), 467-478.

Lum Kong, A. (2002). Impacts of global climate changes on Caribbean fisheries resources: research needs. Global Environmental Change and Food Systems. Caribbean Food Systems. St Augustine, Trinidad: Developing a Research Agenda.

Mahon, R. (2002). Adaptation of fisheries and fishing communities to the impacts of climate change in the CARICOM region. Prepared for the CARICOM Fisheries Unit, Belize City, Belize, as input to the planning process for the project Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change (MACC) of the Caribbean Centre for Climate Change (CCCC).

McCarty, J. J., Canziani, O. F., Leary, N. A., Dokken, D. J., & White, K. S. (2001). Climate change 2001: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Contribution of working group II to the Third assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (No. 574.5222 C639co 2001). Cambridge University Press.

Mensah, C. A. (2012). Optimisation of profit in the artisanal marine fishing: a case study of Sekondi fishing harbour. Unpublished Doctoral dissertation.

Ofori-Danson, P. K., Apegyah, K., Asiedu, B., & Atsu, D. K. (2012). Stock assessment study and fisheries management plan for the Bui Reservoir. Report Submitted to the Bui Power Authority, 104.

Olago, D., Marshall, M., Wandiga, S. O., Opondo, M., Yanda, P. Z., Kangalawe, R., & Kirumira, E. (2007). Climatic, socio-economic, and health factors affecting human vulnerability to cholera in the Lake Victoria basin, East Africa. AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment, 36(4), 350-358.

Ravenstein, E. G. (1885). The laws of migration. Journal of the statistical society of London, 48(2), 167-235.

Rice, J. C., & Garcia, S. M. (2011). Fisheries, food security, climate change, and biodiversity: characteristics of the sector and perspectives on emerging issues. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 68(6), 1343-1353.

Serrat, O. (2017). Social network analysis. In Knowledge solutions (pp. 39-43). Springer Singapore.

Sethi, S. A. (2010). Risk management for fisheries. Fish and Fisheries, 11(4), 341-365.

Shauri, Y. M. (2014). An Assessment of Savings and Credit Groups on Poverty Reduction: A Case of Rural Households in North Unguja. Doctoral dissertation. The Open University of Tanzania.

Siddiqui, T. (2012). Impact of migration on poverty and development. Migrating Out of Poverty Research Program Consortium Working Paper, 2.

Thorpe, A., Andrew, N., & Allison, E. (2007). Fisheries and poverty reduction. CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources, 2(85), 2-12.

United Nations. (2015). International Migration Report, 2015 Highlights. New York: United Nations.

Whittingham, E., Campbell, J., & Townsley, P. (Eds.). (2003). Poverty and Reefs: A global overview. IMM., 2(1), 23-38.

Wilk, J., Andersson, L., & Warburton, M. (2013). Adaptation to climate change and other stressors among commercial and small-scale South African farmers. Regional environmental change, 13(2), 273-286.

World Bank. (2008). The sunken billions. The economic justification for fisheries reform. Washington, DC: Agriculture and Rural Development Department, the World Bank.

World Fish Center. (2009). Fish supply and food security for Africa. Flyer 1995. Penang, Malaysia: The World Fish Center.

28 August, 2020
How to Cite
Dzantor, S., Aheto, D., & Adeton, C. (2020). Assessment of Vulnerability and Coping Livelihood Strategies of Fishermen in Elmina, Ghana. East African Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 2(1), 71-88.