The contribution of Tono Reservoir Fisheries to household livelihoods in selected communities in the Kassena Nankana East District of the Upper East Region of Ghana

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The contribution of the Tono Reservoir fisheries to socio-economic development of Ghana has over the years been significant. An aspect of this is its contribution to food security for the country and to a large extent provision of livelihoods for communities fringing the reservoir. The ability of the reservoir to offer these benefits has been declining due to a number of factors. This study was conducted, through questionnaire survey in five villages within the Tono Irrigation Project area, in the Kassena Nankana East District, from January to April 2013 to determine the contribution of Tono Reservoir fisheries to household livelihoods in the selected communities. Results indicated that the Tono Reservoir fisheries is a major source of livelihoods for the communities improving food security and currently employing 480 households belonging to the active working age class of 20-50 years. The average per capita income of households of fishermen and fishmongers ranged between GH¢0.90 and GH¢8.60/person/day (equivalent to US$0.45 to US$4.30) with only 30%, considered poor living on less than US$1. There has occurred overfishing in recent years at alarming rates, largely as a result of the following factors: open and unrestricted access to the resource and persistence in climate change, habitat degradation, increased fishing, poor observance of closed fishing seasons and other poor management practices. Lack of effective policy interventions including weak enforcement of laws have also contributed to the current situation. The fishers and fishmongers in the communities, now conscious of the possible collapse of the Tono Reservoirs and hence their livelihoods expressed willingness to cooperate with the local accredited fisheries governance institutions to regulate exploitation of the resource to ensure sustainable production.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Fisheries and Watershed Management of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy, in Aquaculture