HTML Document Fresh Water and other Aquatic Ecosystems in Ghana

This page gives a brief description of the natural resources in Ghana's fresh water ecosystem. It captures those in the major river systems and lakes in the country.

Release date 20/02/2008
Contributor Eric Okoree
Geographical coverage Ghana

Ghana’s fresh water fish fauna includes 28 families, 73 genera and 157 species.  About 121 species have been recorded from the Volta system within Ghana, which drains more than a third of the entire country.  About nine species viz. Barbus subinensis (Cyprinidae), Irvinea voltae (Schibeidae), Chrysichthys walkeri (Clarioteidae), Synodontis arnoulti, S. macrophthalmus, S. velifer (Mochokidae), Limbochromis robertsi, Steatocranus irvinea (Cichilidae and Aethiomastac embeluspraensis (Mastacembelidae) are endemic to freshwater system of Ghana (Dankwa et al, 1999).

Economically, 81 species are of food importance.  Species of cultural importance include Heterotis niloticus (Osteoglossidae) Clarias Gariepinus, Heterobranchus longifilis (Claridae) Chrysichthys nigrodigitatus (Clariotiedae), Oreochromis niloticus (Chichlidae) and Lates niloticus (Centropomidae).  Some species need to be protected because of their restricted distribution or their habitat degradation or destruction.

Other freshwater ecosystems include the major rivers such as the White Volta, Black Volta, Lower Volta and Oti. Others are Pra, Tano, Ankobra, Bia and Todzie-Aka.  Also included are other impoundments serving as drinking water sources and/or for irrigation. It is estimated conservatively that about 124 fish species from 62 families inhabit the major rivers.