News & Views
Chamber of Aquaculture Ghana appeals for support after devastating dam spillage
December 19, 2023 By Bob Atwiine
Hundreds of Ghana’s cage fish farmers are counting losses following a devastating impact of the water spillage from the Akosombo Dam, along Volta Lake.
Volta Lake is the country’s artificial lake in the South-Eastern region. The increased water flow in the Volta River has led to flooding in low-lying areas and more than 26,000 individuals have been displaced by these floods.
The water spillage washed away fish farming assets to the estuary at Ada and is beyond repair. Over 500 cages have been destroyed. Cage farmers are losing fish stock, broodstocks and fingerlings. Some hatcheries situated close to the Volta riverbank have been submerged and many fish have perished due to high turbidity and shock.
The Chamber of Aquaculture Ghana says its members and other farmers operating on the Volta River have lost an estimated GH₵46 million (about US$3.9 million) worth of investment as a result.
“The Chamber of Aquaculture Ghana is therefore appealing to cage farmers to exercise due care to protect their investment,” says Patrick Anabila, the chamber spokesperson. “Cage farmers are advised to adjust their anchors to firmly hold their cages. In addition to anchoring the cages, cage farmers are encouraged to constantly monitor the activities of the Volta River Authority in order to prevent any unaware situation that will cause further havoc to assets and investments. Cage farmers should fix floats or barrels around cages to minimize the direct impact of the fast-moving water currents.”
The Chamber also advised cage farmers along Volta Lake to 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 Chamber is calling on the government, the sector ministry, stakeholders, and other supporting agencies to aid fish farmers affected. The Chamber is also appealing on the Volta River Authority to use the various media outlets and other platforms to announce to its stakeholders, the volume of water being spilled as this will enable farmers to adequately prepare and put in place measures that will mitigate the impact of the spillage.
The Volta River Authority says there was a comprehensive simulation exercise on evacuation with all stakeholders in the affected communities of the Akosombo Dam spillage before the opening of the dam.
The ongoing controlled spilling from the Dam has been carried out on an incremental basis since Sept.15, starting gradually from 20,000 cubic feet per second, to the current level of 180,000 cubic feet per second. As the controlled spilling continues, the Volta River Authority says it is doing its best to help victims in affected communities downstream.
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