BOLGATANGA, GHANA– Ghana’s Fisheries Commission has introduced Cage Culture fish farming in the country’s Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions (Provinces) to preserve the quality of water bodies and to improve fish production.

The Cage Culture method involves the building of cages with nets in the dams and ponds to house the fish and was introduced by the commission, which comes under the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, in collaboration with Results Project, a Canadian government-funded project.

In an interview in this capital of Upper East Region, John Anafu of the Fisheries Commission said that by employing Cage Culture, the fishes are confined in the cages where they are fed and the water drained periodically to allow for healthy reproduction.

The fish cage is made with a net and wires around it to prevent the fish from escaping and also to prevent other water animals from getting into the cage. Two tankers are attached to opposite sides of the cage to prevent it from sinking and metal stands rooted in ground of the water to make it stand firm, he said.

The fish cages which differ in sizes can house about 6,000 to 10,000 fingerlings at a time.

The project is being implemented in six zones, including two communities in Talensi District, two communities in Bongo District, and in one community each of the Bolgatanga Municipality, Kassena-Nankana West and Nabdam Districts.

Currently, 43 cages have been built in Upper East Region, each cage managed by 10 people with women in the majority, Anafu said.

He said the new system of fish farming has improved fish production in the region and a farmer in the Pus-Namongo community in the Talensi District emerged the National Best Farmer for Cage Culture in 2016.

The Zonal Officer attributed the recent depletion of fish production in the region to environmental factors such as climate change, inconsistent rainfall pattern leading to low water level in the dams, indiscriminate felling of trees and burning of bushes among others.

Illegal and over fishing and the use of chemicals in the water bodies were other causes of the loss of the fish species in recent times. Some people also use chemicals and undersize mesh where small nets within two inches are employed by farmers to catch the fish. These types of nets catch all the fish species including the fingerlings and eggs.