Fishing sector contracts by -8.1%, 2018 Q1

…agriculture share of GDP declines to 11.9%

Contribution of the fishing sub-sector to the economy has recorded its highest contraction in years, in the first quarter of 2018, by – 8.1 percent, as the share of agriculture as a whole to gross domestic product (GDP) continued its decline to 11.9 percent, data from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has shown.

Acting Government Statistician, Baah Wadieh explained that the contraction was due to the ‘Closed Season’ ban on fishing activities in the first two months of 2018.

The ‘Closed Season’, which began in January, was enacted in accordance with sections 76(3) and 84 of the Fisheries Act, 2002(Act 625), by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Fisheries Commission.

The objectives of the measure, which are in accordance with Ghana’s Fisheries Management Plan (Marine Fisheries Sector, 2015-2019), was to help in reducing the excessive pressure and over exploitation of fish stocks.

Recent research has shown that small pelagic species in the country are overfished while fishing mortality has gradually increased in the past 25-years, reaching high and unsustainable levels in 2016.

The small pelagic fish species, comprising round sardinella, flat sardinella, anchovies and mackerel, account for more than 80 percent of the total small pelagic fish stock in Ghana and are the most exploited by artisanal fishermen for local consumption.

Overall, the agriculture sector’s contribution to GDP dropped to 12.7 percent in 2017 first quarter and further declined to 12.5 percent in the second quarter.

However, in the third quarter of 2017, the share of the sector increased to 23.3 percent, then started a downward trend to 22.9 percent and 11.9 percent, in the fourth quarter of 2017 and first quarter of 2018, respectively.

Yet again, according to reports, government is set to place another wholesale ban on all fishing activity along the country’s coast.

This takes effect from August this year.

It is further anticipated that this would negatively affect output of the sector as witnessed in the first quarter.

The agriculture sector recorded growth rate (y-o-y) of 2.8 percent; where livestock contributed 5.4 percent, crops 4.6 percent and forestry and logging 1.6 percent.

The (y-o-y) quarterly provisional GDP growth rate for first quarter of 2018 was 6.8 percent compared to 6.7 percent recorded for 2017 first quarter. The industry sector recorded the highest growth of 9.6 percent, service sector followed with 5.2 percent.

The sub-sectors that recorded double digit positive growth rates were mining and quarrying with 28.0 percent and information and communication 25.9 percent.

Contraction was however observed in some sub-sectors including; finance and insurance at -7.9 percent, transport and storage -1.7 percent, community social and personal service activities -1.7 percent, construction -0.8 percent and hotel and restaurants -0.4 percent.

By Joshua W. Amlanu