By: Berchie Asiedu (Post-Doc. Fellow, Cohort 2)
Home Institution: University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Ghana
Host Institution: University of Ibadan (UI), Nigeria
Climate change is one of the most serious threats to sustainable aquaculture development in Ghana. The impacts of climate change in the aquaculture (small-scale) sector of Ghana are real. Droughts are being prolonged, rainfall patterns changing, floods increasing and strong winds are becoming a common phenomenon. Fish ponds are breaking in, aquatic plants are taking over ponds, fish mortalities are increasing, water quantity and quality are getting poorer, fish farmers are getting lower revenue and poverty is increasing.
In February 2016, I arrived at the University of Ibadan (UI) to officially commence my one-year Climate Impact Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement (CIRCLE) Visiting Fellowship programme. Prior to my arrival, I had several email exchanges with my Host Supervisor on my research proposal, work plan and other logistics. I also had a meeting with my Home Mentor and CIRCLE Coordinator before departing to UI.
Being at my Host Institution has been interesting. UI is Nigeria’s premier university with a lot of faculties, students and commercial activities. I was introduced to officers in the Research Management Unit (RMO), which is the unit responsible for coordinating the CIRCLE Programme. I met my Host Supervisor who warmly welcomed me and introduced me to other members in the department (Dept. of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management). I also interacted with students in the department and took interest in their research activities. I visited the department’s fish farm to familiarize myself with their work. I took keen interest to understudy the academic and administrative structures of my Host institution, especially, the Dept. of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management (UI), which is unique and I hope to adopt in my Home institution (UENR).
In March 2016, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on Research and Grants Writing for Doctoral Students which was organized by the RMO and Postgraduate School. The workshop had sharpened my skills in research grant management, budget and budgeting in research grants, reference management, effective communication in research grant proposal writing, and ethical consideration in research.
I also had the opportunity to meet other CIRCLE Fellows and Ghanaian students at UI to exchange ideas and build working relationships.
|After a meeting with some Ghanaian students in UI|
As part of my CIRCLE research, I have spent three months studying the impacts of climate change on aquaculture through field data collection in two important aquaculture regions in Ghana (Ashanti and Brong Ahafo), sometimes travelling for about three days across districts, municipals, metropolitans, in rain, sunshine, traffic, day and night and in the remote parts of Ghana.
Working with stakeholders (i.e. fish farmers, fisheries officers, meteorological officers, opinion leaders, local climate experts, national best fish farmers, students, government institutions and religious bodies), the impacts of climate change are being analysed.
|A visit to a fish farm in
Sunyani, Ghana. The pond is dried-up completely due to prolonged drought and
high temperatures. The water source is dried and the farmer forced to stop operations|
|Taking pond water turbidity with secchi disc at a fish farm in Kumasi, Ghana. The quality of water is key for fish growth but is getting poorer due to drought|
|A farmer at Asufua has constructed a concrete wall to combat incidences of flooding during extreme rainfall. Farm operational costs have increased|
|A fish farmer at Odumasi has fenced ponds with nets to retain fish during floods. Ponds here are flooded during torrential rains|
The opportunities and experience from the CIRCLE programme have been very helpful. I am hoping to use my knowledge and skills to have impact in the aquaculture sector, academic circles, public sector and the international communities.
This study has been possible by kind assistance of the CIRCLE programme, DfID, the ACU and AAS.