Journal of the Ghana Science Association
stenella attenuata, stenella clymene, Tursiops truncatus, Grampus griseus, fisheries, bycatch, gillnet, threats, Ghana, Sousa teuszii
Surveys were undertaken to identify common dolphin species landed by local fishers in the coastal waters of Ghana between 1998 and 2000. Althogether, 14 out of the known 18 dophin species in the West African sub-region were identified. They were predominated by the clymene dolphin, Stenella clymene (35%) followed by the pantropical spotted dolphin, Stenella attenuata (17%), the bottelnose dolphin, Tursiops trucatus (16%), and Risso’s dolphin, Grampus griseus (7%). Although some coastal communiteis traditionally revere dolphins, pressure from rapid population growth and declining fish catches have currently made them immediate food need because their meat is consumed fresh or smoked. The main threats of concern are unregulated directed or accidental killing by drift gillnets, purse seine and use of the meat as baits for catchign sharks whose fins atttract scarce foreign exchange. The increasing pressures form tehse artisanal fisheries call for enforcement of existing national conservation legislation (Wildlife conservation Regulatin, 1971 or Legislative Instrument, 685) and adoption of new measures to address the protection of dolphins. In support of this effort, some short-term and long-term interventions needed to protect the dolphins are discussed for their conservation bcause they aconsidered a potential source of eco-tourism ‘dolphin watching’. Note that Sousa teuszii did not figure in the ilst of species identified in this study.