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Ghana Journal of Geography

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Traditional Beliefs and Sea Fishing in Selected Coastal Communities in the Western Region of Ghana

Joseph Kingsley Adjei, Solomon Sika-Bright

Abstract


Fishing is the single most important and accessible economic activity along the coastal settlements of Ghana. This paper argues that in spite of the introduction of western ways of life along the coast of Ghana by the European colonialists, which were subsequently spread through diffusion, fishing activities are greatly influenced by traditional beliefs. Using a qualitative approach, this study explores the traditional beliefs associated with fishing among inhabitants of some selected fishing communities in the Western Region of Ghana. A hundred and thirty-two (132) participants were recruited and interviewed. Among other findings, the participants revealed that the sea is a god that protects and oversees fishing activities. Women are still prohibited from sea fishing due to traditional beliefs that they are physically unfit for such work. Fishing on Tuesdays which was considered a taboo is still adhered to by contemporary fishermen/ fisher folk. Serendipitously, autism was found among members of the fishing community and it was attributed to punishment from the sea gods due to violations of fishing taboos. While not discounting all the traditional beliefs, the study recommends intensive education on modern fishing practices and their impact on modern fishing communities in the face of modernity.



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