Coastal erosion in Ghana: A case of the Elmina-Cape Coast-Moree area

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The extent and rate of erosion along the coastline of Elmina, Cape Coast and Moree were assessed from 1974 to 2012 and the major anthropogenic factors responsible for these changes identified. A shoreline change analysis was conducted using ArcGIS and DSAS tools in order to determine actual coastline changes that occurred during the period under analysis in the study area. Field surveys, questionnaire administration, two focus group discussions and key informant interviews were used to identify and ascertain factors responsible for the coastline changes, the perceptions of residents on coastal erosion issues as well as coastal management issues in the study area were assessed. A sand mining survey was conducted to determine the annual volume of sand mined by tipper trucks in the area. It was found that historic erosion rates for the periods 1974-2012, 1974-2005 and 2005-2012 averaged -1.10m/yr±0.22m, -1.20m/yr±0.23m and -0.85m/yr, respectively. The study identified three major forms of sediment mining practiced along the coast of the study area. These are beach sand mining, beach gravel mining and stone quarry. This study estimated that tipper truck-based beach sand mining activities alone account for the loss of about 285,376 m3 of sand annually from the littoral zones in the Elmina, Cape Coast and Moree area. This study concluded that coastal sand and stone mining activities are the major anthropogenic factors responsible for coastal erosion in the area as it accelerates natural erosion factors and also interrupt natural coastal dynamics. It was also concluded that the lack of proper management interventions and poor coastal surveillance by legitimate state agencies is the major reason for the widespread practice of coastal sand and stone mining in the Elmina, Cape Coast and Moree. 
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Fisheries and Watershed Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements For the award of the degree of Master of Philosophy (Mphil) in Aquatic Resources Management,