Fish processing is the main economic activity for women living in and around the coastal and riparian areas of Ghana. Processing is critical to the fisheries sector since this ensures the preservation of the commodity, thus extending shelf life and facilitating commerce. The prevalent fish preservation method is smoking; other methods include salting/drying, frying and freezing. It is estimated that 75% of all domestic catch (both marine and freshwater) is processed by smoking. Smoked fish is a delicacy in Ghana, and this has fuelled the expansion of the fish smoking industry. However, the growth of this industry is not commensurate with advancements in technology or improved practices. The fish smoking industry in Ghana is largely unregulated with various oven types and hygienic issues and as such the quality of smoked fish varies from place to place.
The European Commission Ghana under the Civil Society Organization in Research and Innovation for Sustainable Development (CSO- RISE) programme has committed funds for the implementation of the “Power of the Fishers” project; a sustainable fisheries intervention that focuses on stakeholder engagement for advocacy, promotion of efficient fish smoking technologies, capacity building and community education on climate change, and enhancing access to social protection services.
The project will contribute to women & youth empowerment, adoption of fish hygiene practices & climate-smart processing technologies, and mangrove conservation. The project will further facilitate coverage under social protection services (particularly health insurance and credit) and contribute to the body of knowledge by collaborating with research institutions to conduct
research on contemporary developments in fisheries.
The project is implemented in the fishing communities within selected districts of Ghana’s coastal savannah zones. The project areas are Awutu Senya, Effutu, Ekumfi, Gomoa West, and Shama districts. The project beneficiaries are predominantly fish processors and fishermen. The duration of the project is 45 months starting from June 2019 – March 2023.