Research scientists at the Water Research Institute (WRI), one of the institutes of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), have raised alarm over dangers posed to many fish farmers in fishing communities along the Volta Lake.
They attributed the problem to aquatic weeds, unregulated human activities and climate change.
According to them, freshwater aquaculture of many fishing communities along the Volta Lake was being affected by climate change, flooding, drought and high temperatures.
They pointed out that the situation has left fish farmers with no other choice than to contend with all forms of pollution and human activities along the Volta Lake and River Densu which are being left unchecked.
The research scientists disclosed this at a Water Research Institute In-House Review Seminar 2017 held in Accra recently.
Addressing participants at the seminar, a Senior Research Scientist at WRI, Dr. Ruby Asmah maintained that Volta Lake’s role in supporting livelihoods and nutritional welfare was critical in a country where fish is estimated to account for up to 60 per cent of its total animal protein requirement and contributes six per cent to the country’s gross domestic product.
In a presentation on the topic “Climate Change, Water Quality and Fisheries of the Volta Lake,” she indicated that the Volta Lake was the main source of inland fish accounting for 15 per cent of the total domestic fish production and eight per cent of inland fish production.
“Fish resources of the Lake are sources of livelihood for over 1,200 riparian communities and it is also the main source of aquaculture fish production in the county,” Dr. Asmah disclosed.
She asserted that recent studies suggested that the fishery of the lake was heavily exploited, blaming the situation on human activities.
According to her, climate change was expected to worsen the situation, with negative consequences for nutrition and livelihoods of the inhabitants of communities along the lake.
The development, according to Dr. Asmah, had adversely affected fish catch in the Volta Lake.
Another researcher, Mr. Emmanuel T. D. Mensah, who spoke on the topic “Effects of seasonal environmental changes on cage fish production in Lake Volta,” said aquaculture was saddled with numerous environmental challenges.
These challenges, according to him, were compounded as a result of the water quality which has to be suitable throughout the production cycle to ensure a successful operation.
He mentioned that the climate of Ghana was characterised by two seasons which are dry and wet and are known to influence the quality of aquatics environment.
Dr. Seth Agyakwah also of WRI noted that the rising cost of fish feed, particularly in Ghana, threatens the suitability of the aquaculture industry.
Leading a team of researchers to speaking on the subject: “Development packaging and utilisation of black soldier fly larval meal for sustainable fish farming,” Dr. Agyakwah indicated that the rising cost of fish feed in the country was also a threat to food security and livelihood opportunities.
According to him, the cost of fish feed was also largely driven by the cost of protein component.
Recent increases in the prices of fish meal, he pointed out, provide an opportunity to investigate the “viability of sustainable, digestible and easy-to-produce proteins from other natural sources for development of efficient, cost-effective fish feeds for the aquaculture industry.