Half-a-year after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in China, strong impacts have already been observed in the small-scale fisheries sector along the West African coast.
Ghana, located in Western Africa, along the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean, has a coastline of 550km and an Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) of over 218,000 km2. Ghana is highly dependent on the ocean and its coastal areas for sustainable development. The country’s coastal environment provides habitats for ecosystems such as mangrove forests, close to one hundred lagoons, estuaries, rocky and sandy beaches, and a rich and diverse biodiversity. These ecosystems provide important benefits to people and communities, such as livelihoods, food and recreation. The ocean and coastal zones are important areas for the country’s economic development. For example, the fisheries sector accounts for 4% of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and supports over one million people. Moreover, marine transport has seen a steady increase over the last 10 years. With increasing maritime traffic, a number of companies have been licensed to carry out offshore bunkering. Several physical infrastructures are situated within the coastal environment to support economic activities, including port facilities, landing beaches for artisanal fisheries, single point mooring facilities, offshore and inshore gas pipelines and submarine telecommunication cables.