Catch composition and size distribution: a comparative study of drift gillnets and fixed gillnets in the Black Volta, Ghana

Samuel Kwasi SARPONG


Inland fisheries are a major contributor to many developing countries, providing employment, nutrition, and income to numerous households. Unfortunately, it is lacking in the areas of research, policy, and sustainable management. In Ghana, the inland fishery revolves around the Volta Lake. The objective of this study therefore was to comparatively assess the size catches and catch composition of fixed gillnets and driftnets of the same mesh sizes on the Stratum VII of the Volta Lake, also known as the Black Volta. The study concentrated on four commercial fish species, Viz, Oreochromis niloticus, Synodontis nigrita, Labeo coubie, and Chrysichthys nigrodigitatus. There were no significant differences in the catch sizes of both gears among all the target species, except L. coubie. C. nigrodigitatus however had an obvious opposing skewness of catch size distribution under the two fishing gears. The difference in the median size catches was not, significant under statistical testing. The percentage catch composition showed that L. coubie was caught more by the fixed gillnet (43 %), while O. niloticus was the highest for driftnet (36.1%). C. nigrodigitatus was the least for both, recording 8.1 % and 9.5 % for driftnet and fixed gillnet, respectively. This study shows the complexity of multi-species and multi-gear fisheries like the Volta Lake. Hence a need for thorough assessment and data collection for meaningful and sustainable management decision-making.


Black Volta, Inland fisheries, Gillnets

Full Text:



Adadu, M. O., Omeji, S., & Oyeniyi, M. E. (2014). Food and feeding habits and condition Factor of Labeo coubie (African Carp) in Lower River Benue. Journal of Global Biosciences, 3(6), 890-894.

Ayotunde, E. O., Stephen, N., & Okey, I. B. (2007). Parasitological examinations and food composition in the gut of feral African carp, Labeo coubie in the Cross River, Southeastern, Nigeria. African Journal of Biotechnology, 6(5), 625.

Ayotunde, E. O., Stephen, N., & Okey, I. B. (2007). Parasitological examinations and food composition in the gut of feral African carp, Labeo coubie in the Cross River, Southeastern, Nigeria. African Journal of Biotechnology, 6(5), 625.

Béné, C. (2007). Diagnostic study of the Volta Basin fisheries: Part 1 overview of the fisheries resources.

Braimah, L. I. (1995). Recent developments in the fisheries of Volta Lake (Ghana). Current status of fisheries and fish stocks of four largest African resources. CIFA Technical Paper, 30, 111-134.

Dankwa, H. R., Abban, E. K., & Teugels, G. G. (1999). Freshwater fishes of Ghana: identification, distribution, ecological and economic importance. Tervuren: Royal museum for Central Africa.

Dickson, W. (1989). Cod gillnet simulation model. Fisheries Research, 7(1-2), 149-174.

Ghana Statistical Service.(2012). 2010 Population and Housing Census: Summary of Report of Final Results. Accra: Ghana Statistical Service

He, P. (2006). Gillnets: gear design, fishing performance and conservation challenges. Marine Technology Society Journal, 40(3), 12-19.

Holst, R., Madsen, N., Moth-Poulsen, T., Fonseca, P., & Campos, A. (1998). Manual for gillnet selectivity. European Commission, 43.

Idodo-Umeh, G. (2003). Diel variations in the fish species of River Ase, Niger Delta, Nigeria. Tropical Freshwater Biology, 12, 63-76.

Ikpi, G. U., Jenyo-Oni, A., & Offem, B. O. (2012). Effect of season on catch rate, diet and aspects of reproduction of Clarias gariepinus (Teleostei: Clariidae) in a tropical waterfall. Advances in Life Sciences, 2(3), 68-74.

Kolding, J., Law, R., Plank, M., & van Zwieten, P. A. (2015). The optimal fishing pattern. Freshwater fisheries ecology, 524-540.

Mensah, M. A., Korateng, K. A., Bortey, A., & Yeboah, D. A. (2006). The state of world fisheries from a fishworkers perspective: The Ghanaian situation.

Misund, O. A., Kolding, J., & Fréon, P. (2002). Fish capture devices in industrial and artisanal fisheries and their influence on management. Handbook of fish biology and fisheries, 2, 13-36.

Offem, B. O., Akegbejo-Samsons, Y., & Omoniyi, I. T. (2008). Stock assessment and management implications of inland fishery in the floodplain of the Cross River, Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Fisheries, 5(2).

Olojo, E. A. A., Olurin, K. B., & Osikoya, O. J. (2003). Food and feeding habits of Synodontis nigrita from the Osun River, SW Nigeria.

Oso, J. A., Ayodele, I. A., & Fagbuaro, O. (2006). Food and feeding habits of Oreochromis niloticus (L.) and Sarotherodon galilaeus (L.) in a tropical reservoir. World Journal of Zoology, 1(2), 118-121.

Reed, W., Burchard, J., Hopson, A.J., Jenness, J. and Yaro, I. (1967). Fish and Fisheries of Northern Nigeria. Ministry of Agriculture Northern Nigeria.

Sahrhage, D., & Lundbeck, J. (2012). A history of fishing. Springer Science & Business Media.

Sala, A. (2016). Review of the EU small-scale driftnet fisheries. Marine Policy, 74, 236-244.

Shinkafi, B. A., Argungu, L. A., & Akanbi, H. S. (2010). Food and feeding habits of catfish (Synodontis nigrita Cuvier and Valenciennes) in River Rima, Sokoto, Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 18(2).

Silvano, R. A., & Valbo-Jørgensen, J. (2008). Beyond fishermen’s tales: contributions of fishers’ local ecological knowledge to fish ecology and fisheries management. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 10, 657-675.

Stewart, P. A. M., & Ferro, R. S. T. (1985). Measurements on gill nets in a flume tank. Fisheries Research, 3, 29-46.

Stoner, A. W. (2004). Effects of environmental variables on fish feeding ecology: implications for the performance of baited fishing gear and stock assessment. Journal of Fish Biology, 65(6), 1445-1471.

Tesfahun, A., & Temesgen, M. (2018). Food and feeding habits of Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus (L.) in Ethiopian water bodies: A review. International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies, 6(1), 43-47.

Wardle, C. S. (1986). Fish behaviour and fishing gear. In The behaviour of teleost fishes (pp. 463-495). Boston, MA: Springer US.

Wickham, H. (2016). Ggplot2: Elegant graphics for data analysis (2nd ed.) [PDF]. Springer International Publishing.

Wondie, A., Mengistu, S., Vijverberg, J., & Dejen, E. (2007). Seasonal variation in primary production of a large high altitude tropical lake (Lake Tana, Ethiopia): effects of nutrient availability and water transparency. Aquatic Ecology, 41, 195-207.

Wudneh, T. (1998). Biology and management of fish stocks in Bahir dar Gulf, Lake Tana, Ethiopia. Wageningen University and Research.

Yem, I. Y., Bankole, N. O., Ogunfowora, O., & Ibrahim, B. (2009). Food habit of the catfish Chrysichthys nigrodigitatus (Geoffrey Saint Hilaire, 1808) in Kainji Lake, Nigeria. Nat. Sci, 7, 17-22.


  • There are currently no refbacks.