Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-ndqjc Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-26T13:59:55.041Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

RESEARCH ARTICLE: Ecosystem Restoration: Evaluating Local Knowledge and Management Systems of Fishermen in Fosu Lagoon, Ghana

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 September 2010

Sarah Darkwa*
VOTEC Department, Faculty of Education–University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast
Richard Smardon
Department of Environmental Studies, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, New York
Sarah Darkwa, Department of Vocational and Technical Education (VOTEC), University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana; (phone) 1-233-3321-33803; (e-mail)
Get access


This article evaluates fishermen's knowledge about the value of mangrove to fish stock and discusses possible management practices to help restore fish stock within the Fosu Lagoon, Ghana. The lagoon was recently added to the list of water bodies with dead zones, raising concern for the people who depend on it for both sustenance and livelihood. The methodology includes in-depth interviews and surveys. Feedback was collected from 120 fishermen representing the different communities that fish the lagoon. Findings did include that fishermen indicated they have some knowledge about mangroves in general and specifically their value to fishing. However, they lack knowledge about the scientific information to manage these mangroves properly to derive the complete benefits that mangroves provide. With its importance to the livelihood of the fishermen and the traditional heritage of the Cape Coast (Ghana) community as a whole, Fosu Lagoon should be the object of more in-depth studies to help restore the fishery resources. This article provides baseline information for developing educational programs to educate the people about the economic, ecological value, and functions of mangroves. The report analyzes one of the obstacles—depletion of mangroves—leading to decline in fish resources in the lagoon. Based on the knowledge of the fishermen, the article provides some recommendations for better management of the lagoon to help reverse fish decline. This work is original, as no such analysis has been carried out before for this region.

Environmental Practice 12:202–213 (2010)

Copyright © National Association of Environmental Professionals 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Adjei, B.A. 1991. Determination of Copper and Zinc Levels in Sediments of the Fosu Lagoon, Cape Coast (unpublished BSc dissertation). Department of Chemistry, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana, 98 pp.Google Scholar
Aggrey-Fynn, E. 2001. The Contribution of the Fisheries Sector to Ghana's Economy. Sustainable Fisheries Livelihood Programme, Department of Internal Development(DFID)/Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome.Google Scholar
Ayisi, M.A., and Addo, S.T.. 1994. Biogas Utilization as a Supplementary Energy Source for Rural Areas in Ghana: A Case Study of Appolonia in Tema District [Abstract]. Ghana Energy Abstracts 1:31.Google Scholar
Barbier, E.B. 1994. Valuing Environmental Functions: Tropical Wetlands. Land Economics 70(2):155173.Google Scholar
Benaka, L.R., ed. 1999. Fish Habitat: Essential Fish Habitat and Rehabilitation. Proceedings of the Sea Grant Symposium on Fish Habitat: “Essential Fish Habitat” and Rehabilitation, Hartford, Connecticut, August 26–27, 1998. American Fisheries Society Symposium 22. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD, 459 pp.Google Scholar
Biney, C.A. 1982. Preliminary Survey of the State of Pollution of the Coastal Environment of Ghana. Oceanologica Acta 1982:3943.Google Scholar
Blay, J., and Asabere-Ameyaw, A.. 1993. Assessment of the Fishery of a Stunted Population of the Cichlid, Sarotherodon melanotheron (Ruppel), in a “Closed” Lagoon in Ghana. Applied Journal of Ichthyology 9(1):111.Google Scholar
Bosire, J.O., Dahdouh-Guebas, F., Kairo, J.G., and Koedam, N.. 2003. Colonization of Non-planted Mangrove Species into Restored Mangrove Stands in Gazi Bay, Kenya. Aquatic Botany 76(4):267279.Google Scholar
Buadu, K.N. 2008. Danger: Don't Eat Fish from Fosu Lagoon. Accra Daily Graphic, March 26. Available at (accessed April 10, 2008).Google Scholar
Chimits, P. 1955. Tilapia and Its Culture. FAO Fish Bulletin 8:133.Google Scholar
Clough, B.F., Boto, K.G., and Attiwill, P.M.. 1983. Mangroves and Sewage: A Re-evaluation. Tasks for Vegetation Science 8:151161Google Scholar
Dahdouh-Guebas, F., Mathenge, C., Kairo, J.G., and Koedam, N.. 2000. Utilization of Mangrove Wood Products around Mida Creek (Kenya) amongst Subsistence and Commercial Users. Economic Botany 54(4):513527.Google Scholar
Daniel, P.A., and Robertson, A.I.. 1990. Epibenthos of Mangrove Waterways and Open Embayments: Community Structure and the Relationship between Exported Mangrove Detritus and Epifaunal Standing Stocks. Estuary Coast Shelf Science 31(5):599619.Google Scholar
Din, N., Saenger, P., Jules, P.R., Siegfriend, D.D., and Basco, F.. 2008. Logging Activities in Mangrove Forests: A Case Study of Douala Cameroon. African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 2(2):2230.Google Scholar
Ellison, A.M. 2000. Mangrove Restoration: Do We Know Enough? Restoration Ecology 8(3):219229.Google Scholar
Ellison, J.C. 1997. Mangrove Ecosystems of the Western and the Gulf Provinces of Papua New Guinea: A review. Science in New Guinea 23(1):316.Google Scholar
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2003. Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profiles: Ghana. FAO, Rome. Available at (accessed March 27, 2008).Google Scholar
Fryer, G., and Iles, T.D.. 1972. The Cichlid Fishes of the Great Lakes of Africa: Their Biology and Evolution. Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh, 641 pp.Google Scholar
Ghana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2004. Annual Report. EPA, Accra, 21 pp.Google Scholar
Ghana Statistical Service. 2002. 2000 Population and Housing Census: Summary Report of Final Results. Ghana Statistical Service, Accra, 495 pp.Google Scholar
Gilbert, E., Dodoo, D.K., Okai-Sam, F., Essuman, K., and Quagraine, E.K.. 2006. Characterization and Source Assessment of Heavy Metals and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Sediments of the Fosu Lagoon, Ghana. Journal of Environmental Science and Health: Toxic Substances and Environmental Engineering 41(12):27472775.Google Scholar
Hagan, S. 1986. Determination of the Levels of Pollution of Trace Heavy Metals in Cape Coast Lagoon (unpublished BSc dissertation). Department of Chemistry, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana, 89 pp.Google Scholar
Iles, T.D. 1973. Dwarfing or Stunting in the Genus Tilapia (Cichlidae), a Possibly Unique Recruitment Mechanism. Rapports et Proces-Verbaux des Reunions Conseil International pour l'Exploration de la Mer 164:247254.Google Scholar
Interim Guinea Current Commission (IGCC). 2007. Regional Issues. IGCC, Accra, Ghana, 3 pp. Available at (accessed December 3, 2007).Google Scholar
Jarup, L., Alfven, T., Persson, B., Joss, G., and Elinder, C.G.. 1998. Cadmium May Be a Risk Factor for Osteoporosis. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 55(7):435439.Google Scholar
Kendie, S.B. 1998. Employment Structure and the Environment in Cape Coast, Ghana. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 19(1):2638.Google Scholar
Kendie, S.B., and De-Graft Johnson, J.W.K.. 1999. Some Polluting Effects of Small-Scale Industrial Production in the Central Region of Ghana. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 20(2):131147.Google Scholar
Koranteng, K.A., Ofori-Danso, P.K., and Entsua-Mensah, M.. 2000. Fish and Fisheries of the Muni Lagoon in Ghana, West Africa. Biodiversity and Conservation 9(4):487499.Google Scholar
Lacerda, L.D., Machado, W., and Moscatelli, M.. 2000. Use of Mangroves in Landfill Management. Glomis Electronic Journal 1(1):1.Google Scholar
Layman, C.A., and Arrington, D.A.. 2005. Community-Based Collaboration Restores Tidal Flow to an Island Estuary (Bahamas). Ecological Restoration 23(1):5859.Google Scholar
Lewis, R.R. 1992. Coastal Habitat Restoration as a Fishery Management Tool. In Stemming the Tide of Coastal Fish Habitat Loss, Stroud, R.H., ed. Proceedings of a Symposium on Conservation of Coastal Fish Habitat, Baltimore, MD, March 7–9, 1991. National Coalition for Marine Conservation, Savannah, GA, 169173.Google Scholar
Macintosh, D.J., and Ashton, E.C.. 2003. Draft Code of Conduct for the Sustainable Management of Mangrove Ecosystems. International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems (ISME) Center, Aarhus, Denmark, 79 pp. Available at (accessed March 27, 2008).Google Scholar
Manson, F.J., Loneragan, N.R., Skilleter, G.A., and Phinn, S.R.. 2005. An Evaluation of the Evidence for Linkages between Mangroves and Fisheries: A Synthesis of the Literature and Identification of Research Directions. Oceanography & Marine Biology: Annual Review 43:485515.Google Scholar
Mensah, M.A. 1979. The Hydrology and Fisheries of the Lagoons and Estuaries of Ghana. Marine Fisheries Research Report 7.The Marine Fisheries Research Division (MFRD) of Ghana Fisheries, Tema, 14 pp.Google Scholar
Morgan, M.G., Fischhoff, B., Bostrom, A., and Atman, C.J.. 2002. Risk Communication: A Mental Models Approach. Cambridge University Press, New York, 351 pp.Google Scholar
Mumby, P.J., Edwards, A.J., Arias-González, J.E., Lindeman, K.C., Blackwell, P.G., Gall, A., Gorczynska, M.I., Harborne, A.R., Pescod, C.L., Renken, H., Wabnitz, C.C., and Llewellyn, G.. 2004. Mangroves Enhance the Biomass of Coral Reef Fish Communities in the Caribbean. Nature 5(427):533563.Google Scholar
Naylor, R., and Drew, M.. 1998. Valuing Mangrove Resources in Kosrae, Micronesia. Environment and Development Economics 3(4):471490.Google Scholar
Odum, E.P. 1971. Fundamentals of Ecology, 3rd edition. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, 574 pp.Google Scholar
Pallant, J. 2005. SPSS Survival Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Data Analysis Using SPSS Version 12. Open University Press, Berkshire, UK, 318 pp.Google Scholar
Payne, I. 1975. Tilapia: A Fish for Culture. New Science 67(960):256258.Google Scholar
Prasad, A.S. 2001. Discovery of Human Zinc Deficiency: Impact on Human Health. Nutrition 17(7–8):685687.Google Scholar
Rao, A.S. 2007. Restoration Success Stories from Ghana. Mangrove Action Project News, 187th edition. Available at (accessed March 27, 2008).Google Scholar
Rouse, W.B., and Morris, N.M.. 1986. On Looking into the Black Box: Prospects and Limits in the Search for Mental Models. Psychological Bulletin 100(3):349363.Google Scholar
Royce, W.F. 1987. Fishery Development. Academic Press, New York, 248 pp.Google Scholar
Sackey, I., Laing, E., and Adomako, J.K.. 1993. L'Etat Actuel des Mangroves du Ghana. In Conservation et Utilisation Rationnalle des Forets de Mangrove de l'Amerique Latine et de l'Afrique, Diop, E.S., ed. International Tropical Timber Organization/International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems (ITTO/ISME) Project PD114/90(F).ITTO/ISME, Dakar, Senegal, 2:99107.Google Scholar
Sheridan, P., and Hays, C.. 2003. Are Mangroves Nursery Habitat for Transient Fishes and Decapods? Wetlands 23(2):449458.Google Scholar
Smardon, R.C. 2003. The Role of Nongovernmental Organizations for Sustaining Wetland Heritage Values. In Cross Gazes to the Heritage Concept Worldwide to the End of the 20th Century, Gravi-Bardos, M. and Gichard-Anguis, S., eds. Institute of Geography, Sorbonne University, Paris, 795815.Google Scholar
Smardon, R.C. 2009. Sustaining the World's Wetlands: Setting Policy and Resolving Conflicts. Springer Series on Environmental Management.Springer, New York, 326 pp.Google Scholar
Spaninks, F., and van Beukering, P.. 1997. Economic Valuation of Mangrove Ecosystems: Potential and Limitations. Collaborative Research in the Economics of Environment and Development (CREED) Working Paper 14. Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 37 pp.Google Scholar
Stroud, R.H., ed. 1983. Marine Recreational Fisheries at the Crossroads. Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Marine Recreational Fisheries Symposium, San Diego, CA, April 26–27.Sport Fishing Institute, Washington, DC, 236 pp.Google Scholar
Tay, C.A. 1998. Preliminary Studies on the Level of Inorganic Pollution in Fosu Lagoon, Cape Coast (unpublished BSc dissertation). Department of Laboratory Technology, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana, 88 pp.Google Scholar
United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). 2006. Further Rise in Number of Marine “Dead Zones”: Global Program Action Global (GPA) for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Sources—2nd Intergovernmental Review. UNEP News Release 2006/49.UNEP, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, 2 pp. Available at (accessed March 27, 2008).Google Scholar
Wilkie, M.L., and Fortuna, S.. 2003. Status and Trends in Mangrove Area Extent Worldwide. Forest Resources Assessment Working Paper 63. Forest Resources Division, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Rome, Italy, 77 pp. Available at (accessed August 2, 2010).Google Scholar