The COVID-19 Pandemic and Coastal Fishery Livelihood Systems: Socio-economic Implications for Small-Scale Fisherfolk in Winneba, Ghana

Victor OWUSU*, Yaw Agyeman BOAFO, Moses ADJEI, Richard BOATENG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsBook ChapterResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted livelihood options and systems of people from all walks of life. In this study, we explored the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic on small-scale coastal fisherfolk in the Winneba community of the Central Region of Ghana. The study used quantitative data from a questionnaire survey (n = 50) and qualitative data from in-depth interviews with key stakeholders including chief fishermen, community leaders, and district members (n = 12) to examine the stated objectives. The empirical results showed that the overwhelming majority of fisherfolk are aware of COVID-19 and the risks it poses to their health with their main source of information on the pandemic being the radio. Most of the respondents reported that the COVID-19 pandemic had and continues to adversely transform their livelihood systems. Further analysis showed that their socio-economic vulnerabilities have further been worsened because of the extra financial costs incurred in the purchase of personal protective equipment such as face masks and hand sanitisers in response to COVID-19. The frequency and number of crews per fishing trip have decreased resulting in lower fish landings and decreased income. The volume of fish processing and trading activities has also decreased because of the increase in prices of fish and low patronage. Commonly mentioned local coping strategies against COVID-19 infection include drinking and bathing with seawater as well as the use of seawater as a desired enema solution for general detoxification. In response to declining fish catches, fisherfolk are resorting to illegal fishing activities and engaging in casual work like masonry and carpentry to supplement their income. The study urges relevant stakeholders to evaluate the impacts of COVID-19 on coastal fisheries’ livelihoods toward designing and implementing sustainable and practical resilience-enhancing strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCOVID-19 and a World of Ad Hoc Geographies
EditorsStanley D. BRUNN, Donna GILBREATH
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Pages1657-1678
ISBN (Electronic)9783030943509
ISBN (Print)9783030943493
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Sep 2022

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