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This study examined informal cross-border artisanal fish trade in West Africa, using Ghana and her neighbouring countries as a case study. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches, including the use of interviews, Focus Group Discussions and questionnaires were used. The volume of informal cross-border fish trade between Ghana, Togo and Benin was estimated to be about 6,400 MT valued at about 70 million Ghana Cedis or $20 million per annum. Furthermore, the ICBT fish trade between Ghana and her neighbours was dominated by women. Regarding decision-making by traders on whether to participate in Informal Cross Border Trading (ICBT) or not, a logistic model was applied. It was found that basic education, road network condition, nearness of trader’s residence to a border, membership to a fish trade association and access to market information were significant at 5% significance level. The gross profit margin for ICBT in fish was 20.4%. The study also found that the key significant determinants of ICBT profitability at the 5% level were: age of traders; the number of years in the fish trade; and access to market information. Access to trade credit was significant at the 10% level. Meanwhile the interviews and discussions highlighted the lack of formal credit, poor road networks and undeveloped markets sites as major challenges facing the fish traders, while they have internalized police and other checkpoints into their pricing decisions. Other challenges were the short shelf life of the cured fish in recent years due to the suspected use of chemicals by artisanal fishers. From the survey, transportation related costs constituted the highest proportion of cross-border fish traders’ transaction cost which adversely affected profitability. The study recommends the upgrading of infrastructure to market sites and also within them, including the provision of good storage facilities. Secondly, Fisheries Authorities should make price information easy to access and reduce the incidence of illegal fishing methods to allow trading of longer shelf life and larger matured fish. Other stakeholders could assist the formation of stronger fish trade associations which could do more advocacy both on the domestic and international fora concerning their challenges. To facilitate eligibility for formal credit, the need for basic training in book-keeping and formal registration through membership of trader associations was also recommended.

Ayilu, Raymond K.
Antwi-Asare, Theodore O
Anoh, Paul
Tall, Amadou
Aboya, Narcisse
Chimatiro, Sloans
Dedi, Seraphin
Social Sciences