Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Marine Affairs

Department

Marine Affairs

First Advisor

Richard Burroughs

Abstract

Seafood is one of the most traded food commodities in the world by value. Small-scale fisheries contribute significantly to the global production and supply of seafood. Yet, many small-scale fisheries in developing countries fail to maximize value of seafood products due to post-harvest loss, production, distribution, and marketing challenges. The purpose of this study is to examine how post-harvest innovations might address some of these challenges, whom they benefit along the fisheries value chain, and factors that influence adoption of innovations through two case studies in West Africa.

A multi-methods approach was used to collect extensive quantitative and qualitative data from two countries, The Gambia and Ghana, during the period between 2015-2018. Data were collected in the field using paper and electronic survey instruments. These data were analyzed statistically and supported with key informant interviews, focus groups, and direct and participant observation.

The results of this study show that in the Gambian sole fishery a simple innovation, icing at sea, improved quality and reduced loss, thus increasing revenue from export-oriented sole for fishers and buyers. Results also suggest that increasing the proportion of sole for export does not impact local trade and consumption of sole. In Ghana, a slightly more complex innovation was introduced to improve quality of smoked fish and reduce consumption of fuelwood used to smoke fish. Results indicate that innovative technology reduces fuelwood consumption, improves quality and points to increased profitability for processors. This study also measured factors that influence adoption of innovative technology. Factors that influence adoption are distinct technological features such as less consumption of fuelwood, hence, cost of fuelwood, reduction of smoke, and hands-on training, plus the ability to pay for innovative technology. This study highlights the importance of simplicity in designing and implementing innovations within the post-harvest sector in small-scale fisheries in developing countries. These findings suggest post-harvest innovations can have positive socio-economic impacts for some nodes along the fisheries value chain, however, the cost of the innovation may exceed the benefit for other nodes along the chain in the case studies presented here.

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