Environmental Policy News

US Supports the Creation of MPAs to Replenish Ghana’s Fisheries and Improve Livelihoods

The US Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is supporting the creation of marine protected areas (MPAs) to help replenish Ghana’s fisheries and support local livelihoods.

A marine protected area is a portion of the sea where fishing activities are prohibited or limited. In April, Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, announced that Ghana’s first MPA would be created in 2026 and cover 700 square kilometers of biodiversity-rich coastal waters.

“USAID is providing approximately $750,000 (over 11 million Ghana Cedis) worth of technical assistance to support the creation of MPAs, including organizing workshops and meetings with fisheries stakeholders to develop a unified strategy for MPAs in Ghana. This will ensure that the MPAs adhere to global best practices and are created and governed in a participatory manner with local communities, balancing both human use and conservation needs,” Andrew Read, USAID/Ghana’s Economic Growth Office Director, stated during an event to commemorate World Oceans Day at Busua in the Western Region.

This year’s commemoration highlighted the importance of community-driven approaches to marine conservation and the need for continued collaboration between the US and Ghana to support marine biodiversity, food security and address climate change.

“Ghana’s western coast supports some of the most biodiverse areas in the country, yet faces a myriad of challenges including overfishing, coastal deforestation and erosion, and population growth. Given the environmental and economic importance of this area, particularly for fisheries resources, the Government is working with partners like USAID to align priorities to the establishment of the Greater Cape Three Points as Ghana’s first MPA by 2025,” added Ishmael Brown, Director of Research, Statistics, and Information Management at the Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Ministry, on behalf of the sector minister.

The United States is Ghana’s largest development partner. In 2023, bilateral support from USAID totaled over $140 million dedicated to supporting agriculture and economic growth, health, education, governance, and more. The USAID-supported Feed the Future Program has provided $24 million (over 355 million Ghana Cedis) in multi-year investments to restore Ghana’s coastal fisheries and improve ocean conservation along Ghana’s coast.

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