Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Effects of water hyacinth invasion on sustainability of fishing livelihoods along the River Tano and Abby-Tano Lagoon, Ghana.

Abstract

Fishing and fish trading as livelihood activities come under severe threat due to water hyacinth infestation of fresh water bodies. Based on cross-sectional research with 126 fishermen and fish traders who were sampled using the snowballing sampling technique, this study assessed the effects of water hyacinth invasion on fishing and fish trading livelihoods in communities along River Tano and Abby-Tano Lagoon in the Jomoro District, Ghana. Five communities along River Tano and Abby-Tano Lagoon in the district were purposively selected for the study. Questionnaire administration and Focus Group Discussions were employed as data collection methods in the study. We found that water hyacinth infestation had both positive and negative effects on fishing and fish trading. However, while communities along the Abby Lagoon found water hyacinth helpful in their fishing endeavour, those along the River Tano found them disruptive of their fishing activities, making their livelihoods precarious and unsustainable. Among the problems posed by the invasion to fishing and fish trading were; denial of access to fishing grounds, delays in preparatory work for fishing, fishing traps siltation, low fish supply and reduced profit. In a few cases, however, water hyacinth was perceived to have led to increased fish catch and income. To resolve the annual problem of low fish catch and difficulties encountered to reach fishing grounds due to the infestation, the study recommends the establishment of fish farms in both water bodies to ensure all year-round production of fish devoid of the water hyacinth menace.