Impacts of the petroleum industry on the livelihoods of fisherfolk in Ghana: A case study of the Western Region
This paper investigates the livelihood situation of small-scale coastal fisherfolk in the Western Region of Ghana. This paper is one of the first studies focusing on coastal spatial mobility strategies to improve living standards adopted by fisherfolk in sub-Saharan Africa. It examines how fisherfolk livelihoods have been affected by the extraction and production of oil. The study further explores the various livelihood strategies deployed by fisherfolk to avoid decrease fish catch. A mixed- methods approach made up of 400 fisherfolk households survey and 42 interviews with stakeholders in the fisheries and the petroleum industries were conducted. The study shows that fisherfolk in the Western Region of Ghana are under high socioeconomic vulnerability because of decreased fish catch and declining coastal livelihoods. The spatial restriction of fishers’ mobility offshore, the destruction and confiscation of fishing gear, the presence of seaweed in the ocean, and the lack of land opportunities are some of the key petroleum-induced stressors on fisheries livelihoods. The various in situ marine-based adaptation strategies deployed by fisherfolk, especially illegal light fishing and fishing around oil rigs, are unsustainable and are counterproductive in the rebuilding of depleted marine fish stocks.