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Ministry Of Fisheries And Aquaculture Development 

The Fishing sector of the country plays an important role contributing significantly to national economic development objectives related to employment, livelihood support, poverty reduction, food security, foreign exchange earnings and resource sustainability.

Fish is a preferred source of animal protein in Ghana, and about 75 percent of the total domestic production of fish is consumed locally. Fish is expected to contribute 60 percent of animal protein intake. The per capita consumption is estimated to be about 25 kg per annum.

Over 2 million fishermen, processors and traders participate in this sector.

These and their dependants amount to about 10% of the population.

Fish is the country’s most important non-traditional export commodity and the fisheries sub-sector accounts for about 5 percent of the agricultural GDP. Export earnings from fish and fishery products on average account for approximately 60 million US Dollars annually.

The fishing industry in Ghana is based on resources from the marine, inland (freshwater) and aquaculture sectors. The Volta Lake, reservoirs, fishponds and coastal lagoons are the main sources of freshwater fish.


Marine Fisheries

The marine fishing industry in Ghana consists of three main sectors:

The artisanal fishing sector (canoes).

Major species landed by the marine fisheries are the small pelagics (Sardinellas & Anchovies) whilst the important demersals are the Seabreams Groupers and Croakers.

Inland Fisheries

Within the inland sector, the Volta lake is the main source of fishery. There are over 72.000 fishermen using canoes of various sizes working there.  Common among the landings are various species of Tilapia and Clarias among others.

The potential of aquaculture in Ghana is important; the actual estimated production reached about 9.000 tons mainly with Tilapia production. The potential for cage culturing for tilapia is steadily increasing.

Procedure for acquiring a Fishing Licence to operate a Fishing Vessel in Ghana

Register a company in Ghana at the Registrar General’s Department and get the certificate of registration and company’s code. Shareholding should be 100% Ghanaian for trawler and shrimper operation and at least 50% Ghanaian for tuna vessel operation.

Apply for a permit from the Hon. Minister of State in charge of Fisheries, and attach to the application, a copy of the registration certificate of the company. (Fishing should be one of the activities to be carried out by the company), class certificate, survey report, tonnage certificate of the vessel intended for importation and operation and Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate.

Gross registered tonnage (g.r.t.) of a trawler and a shrimper should not exceed 450 and 300 respectively and for a tuna vessel, should not exceed 600 for a tuna purse seiner and 500 for a tuna pole and line.

Application with documents are sent to Hon. Minister for Roads and Transport for vetting ie. For class and sea worthiness. Minister for Roads and Transport responds to Minister for Fisheries as to whether the said vessel should be allowed into the country or not.

Minister for Fisheries grants the permit for the importation of the vessel if it was found out to be of class and sea worthy. Validity period of a permit is one (1) year and permit is not transferable.

When the vessel is imported, it would first be registered by the Shipping Commissioner at Takoradi under the national flag and it would be issued with a certificate of registration and an official number issued which would be boldly embossed on the vessel.

Fishing registration number is then issued to the vessel after the submission of the following documents and inspection of the vessel by DoF.

  • Certificate of registration of the company
  • Company’s code
  • Survey report of vessel
  • Purchase agreement/Bill of sale
  • Picture of the vessel
  • Certificate of Ghanaian registry
  • Insurance cover for vessel and crew
  • Filled MCS forms and report on inspection of vessel by MCS duly signed and stamped
  • Safety equipment certificate
  • Tonnage certificate
  • Radio and communication equipment certificate

Fishing licence is then issued upon payment of licence fees which varies according to type and g.r.t of the vessel. Crew composition should be at least 75% Ghanaian in any case.

Fishing licence is renewable quarterly or annually ending 31st December. Renewable of licence for shrimp vessels are issued quarterly.

Conditions for renewing fishing licence

Apply for renewal of fishing licence to the Director of Fisheries and attach the following documents.

  • Submit catch returns trip by trip to the Head of Marine Fisheries Research Division  (MFRD).
  • Filled MCS form duly signed and stamped.
  • Valid safety equipment certificate.
  • Valid radio and communication equipment certificate.
  • Valid Insurance covers for Hull and Machinery.
  • Valid Insurance covers for crew.
  • Licence fee paid by Banker’s Draft in the name of ‘Director of Fisheries’
  • Show receipt for payment of a log book from DOF