Although aquaculture remains a small industry and is as yet unable to keep pace with growing demand for fish, the sector’s production over the past five years has hit an average annual growth rate of over 15 percent.
Figures as at the end of 2017 indicate that an estimated 57,000 metric tonnes (MT) were produced up from 10,000 MT in 2010.
The Fish and Sea food report made available in March 2019 by the Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) showed expectations of increasing growth rates in farmed fish production in 2018, due to both expansion of existing fish farms and establishment of new farms.
With a population of approximately 29.5 million in 2018, the report estimates national fish consumption at approximately 775,000 MT.
Tilapia, the preferred choice of an increasing number of Ghanaians, constitutes 80 percent of farmed production, with catfish accounting for the remaining 20 percent.
Despite the increasing consumption, the high cost of available fish feed and the lack of viable fingerlings restricts the industry’s growth.
Currently, fish farming is confined to freshwater sources, although there is interest in the development of fish and shrimp farming in marine waters.
An estimated 5,000 fish farmers operate in the industry with about 19,000 fish cages/ponds between them.
There are approximately ten large scale commercial aquaculture farms currently in operation. These operations account for less than 3 percent of total aquaculture farms by number, but they produce over 80 percent of farmed fish.
Fish farming is mostly practiced in the Eastern, Ashanti, Volta, Central and Western regions of Ghana.
By Joshua W. Amlanu