Ghana man-made flood devastates tilapia farming sector

"Controlled spillage" from Ghana’s Akosombo Dam wipes out fish farming stock and infrastructure worth at least ₵46 million and forces thousands of residents to flee their homes.
Akosombo Dam in Ghana.
Akosombo Dam in Ghana.Photo: Adobe Stock.

Man-made flooding in the Volta Lake area of Ghana has caused devastating losses to tilapia farmers, initially estimated at ₵46 million (approx. €3.7m / USD$3.9m), according to the Ghana Chamber of Aquaculture.

During September and October, the Volta River Authority has been undertaking "controlled spillage" of the Akosombo Dam, releasing water to prevent damage to hydropower facilities after heavy rains increased the water level in Lake Volta.

However, the released water has caused substantial flooding, wiping out tilapia aquaculture facilities and forcing thousands of people from local fishing communities to flee their homes. The floods have also disrupted key infrastructure, blocking roads and cutting off fresh water and electricity in some areas.

Notification of the first planned "spillage" in September was released too late, according to local sources, with residents and businesses given too little time to prepare for the floodwater's devastating effects.

Over 500 tilapia cages destroyed, total losses estimated at ₵46 million

According to a statement released by the Ghana Chamber of Aquaculture, over 500 tilapia cages have been destroyed in the flooding, with significant losses to live fish stock, brood stocks and fingerlings. Several hatcheries close to the Volta river have also been submerged, the chamber said.

While the damage was initially estimated at ₵46 million, that figure may rise as further water spillage takes place, and the full extent of the damage is uncovered.

In a written statement earlier this month, the Chamber of Aquaculture Ghana called on the government and other supporting agencies to aid fish farmers affected by the disaster. It also reminded farmers to ensure they are covered by aquaculture insurance to mitigate against similar situations in future.

Ghana Chamber of Aquaculture issues advice on safeguarding against future man-made flooding

The Chamber also called on the Volta River Authority to better inform stakeholders about the volume of water due to be spilled. This, it said, "will enable cage farmers to adequately prepare and put in place measures that will mitigate the impact of the spillage."

The Chamber advised fish farmers to be vigilant about the activities of the Authority, and to "fix floats or barrels around cages to minimize the direct impact of the fast-moving water currents."

"Additionally, Cage Farmers along Volta Lake should avoid stocking their cages to prevent further loss of investments, harvest matured fish before further spillage is executed, and ensure that feeders and divers are constantly observing the state of affairs of the nets and debris trapped," the advice read.

Related Stories

No stories found.