Opposing discourses on the offshore coexistence of the petroleum industry and small-scale fisheries in Ghana

Moses ADJEI*, Ragnhild OVERÅ* (Collaborator)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Petroleum extraction and fishing activities coexist off Ghana’s Western coast with different stakes and conflicting opinions regarding ocean space utilization. Based on fieldwork in the coastal town Axim and analysis of interviews with different stakeholders, we identify three main discourses: pro-fishery, fish resource conservation, and pro-petroleum extraction. Whereas small-scale fishers stress that exclusion zones surrounding oil rigs and offshore vessel traffic limit their mobility and damage their equipment, officials of petroleum companies argue that the fishers’ mobility is irresponsible and that they pose a security threat. Similarly, government officials view fishers as irresponsible and that they overfish. We find that the negative stakeholder image of fishers established in the fish resource conservation discourse is invoked during fishing-petroleum industry conflict resolution processes, in which fishers often have the burden of proof and receive inadequate compensation. We conclude that the stakeholders’ unequal discursive power and the government’s interest in the petroleum revenue favour petroleum companies’ interests over fishers’ interests in the governance of ocean space.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-197
Number of pages8
JournalExtractive Industries and Society
Issue number1
Early online date25 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Small-scale fisheries
  • Petroleum industry
  • Ocean space governance
  • Stakeholder images
  • Political ecology


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