Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Marine Affairs

First Advisor

Seth Macinko


One of the major ways to reduce pressure on a declining fishery is through effort controls and this most often is seen to have both positive and negative effects on the people whose livelihoods depend on the fishery, specifically in instances where the control of effort leads to the exclusion of fishers out of the fishery. This study looks at some of the factors that will affect artisanal Ghanaian fishers’ willingness to exit a declining fishery. It looks at what these fishers perceived to be their alternative livelihood options. The study found that fishers in an urbanized and developed area in Ghana like Tema, are well aware of the fact that their fishery is declining but still a large majority (77.5%) of them are not willing to stop fishing entirely, and even when offered an alternative, a majority of them (55.4%) are still not willing to exit the fishery for any alternative livelihood options. The study identified “generations in fishing”, that is, coming from a family of fishers, to be a major factor that contributes to fishers’ willingness to exit or stay in the fishery. The results indicate that direct effort reduction by forcing fisher folk to exit the fishery has a high probability of failing with the fishers not wanting to exit the fishery or likely to go back to fishing if reentry is not controlled. Thus, it is proposed to address this situation by using indirect means that seek to address the major factor, generations in fishing. Promoting alternative livelihoods among fishers, was also seen to be important to reduce over dependence on the fishery. Fishers’ preferred alternative livelihoods include jobs that will not require any high qualifications and skills due to their low educational background and skills level. Based on these findings, the study recommends government support for alternative livelihoods geared towards targeting those who are in the fishery because they were forced to be there and feel trapped since they had no other form of livelihood apart from fishing. Policies that are directed towards eliminating or reducing intergenerational transfer of fishing within a household (e.g. educational policies) could also be promoted.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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