The Fishery of the Freshwater Oyster Etheria Elliptica (Etheriidae) in Northern Ghana: Its Distribution and Economic Importance

Author(s): Akwasi Ampofo-Yeboah, Mark Owusu-Frimpong

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Abstract: A survey was conducted for seventeen months in 1998 and 2008 to record indigenous knowledge on the freshwater oyster Etheria elliptica in the north of Ghana, with emphasis on its distribution and economic importance. The study showed natural occurrence of the oyster in the major rivers and their tributaries that form the northern Volta Basin: River Oti in the north-east serving as the international boundary between Ghana and Togo, the Black Volta River in the north-west serving as the international boundary between Ghana and La Cotê d'Ivoire, and the White Volta River running through the central portion. Apparently, the oyster is fairly widespread in the north. Biochemical analysis of fresh meat samples showed nutritional values that suggest that the White Volta and Oti stocks are the same. The oysters are sessile organisms and are usually collected from the riverbeds mostly by women and during low water levels in the dry season, using locally manufactured implements like hoes, chisels and hammer to dislodge them from the hard substrates to which they are attached.  The oyster fishery constitutes a major source of livelihood, providing employment, income and nutritious food for the local inhabitants.