Sulley Ibrahim

AREA OF EXPERTISE: Governance and development specialist, with interests in analysing issues at the intersection of the structured relations between local and national governments in relation to the distributed problems of blue economy, sustainable development, social exclusion, gender inclusion, climate change, child rights, child labour, human rights, cultural rights, customary law, fishery governance.

AFFILIATION: Lecturer, Institute of Local Government Studies, Accra (Ghana)

1. Research Impact

The weakening of customary law in fisher communities is often blamed for the increased use of illegal fishing methods in small-scale fishing. Often, the presence of world religions of Christianity, Islam and other social change factors, such as education and urbanization are blamed for the waning effect of customary law, especially the powers of ancestors, marine deities and earth gods to punish wrongdoings. Through the Hub work, however, I have combined such social science insights with natural science research evidence on the depletion of fish stock in Ghana marine waters to demonstrate how the depletion of fish stock itself conversely compels fishers to resort to illicit fishing methods in fish harvesting. This new insight could inspire future studies to examine factors such as climate change and activities of trawler fishing on the dwindling of fish stock in small-scale marine fishing in Ghana.   

2. Policy Change Impact

As a Co-I in the Ghana Hub, I have triangulated social science and natural research findings to build the capacities of small-scale fishery stakeholders that span fish-workers, civil society groups and government authorities and obtained feedback on the increased willingness of fisherwomen, especially women who own canoes but were previously excluded in canoe governance systems, to seek inclusion in small-scale governance processes both in the traditional and state governance systems.

3. Peer Learning Impact

Through the Hub’s integration work, I have worked with researchers from environmental law, customary law, fisheries sciences and human rights, and as well engaged policy authorities from lawmaking through law enforcement, justice delivery, canoe-making, fish-harvesting to fish-processing. The peer-learning experiences from these opportunities include the networks that I have build for future research and policy engagements as well as inspiring new research areas to pursue.  

Making waves

The short film ‘Women in Small-Scale Fisheries in Ghana – the unsung heroines’ talks about the contributions of women in the fisheries sector in Ghana. The film dwells into the workshops that were organised by Hub researchers and local partners in Ghana in 2021-2023.Women in Small-Scale Fisheries in Ghana – the unsung heroines – watch here >>

Recent publications
  • Boateng, J. K., Golo, H. K., Ibrahim, S. & Erinosho, B. (2024). Reconciling conflicts between cultural beliefs, and human rights standards in coastal communities of Ghana: preserving cultural rights and promoting sustainable fishing practices. Cogent Social Sciences, 10 (1), pp. 1-15 – read here >>
  • Golo, H. K., Ibrahim, S. & Erinosho, B. (2022). Integrating communities’ customary laws into marine small-scale fisheries governance in Ghana: Reflections on the FAO Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries. Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law, 31(3), pp. 349-359 – read here >>
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Social media presence:

Twitter: @sibrahimta1 – Sulley Ibrahim, PhD | Facebook: Sulley Ibrahim

Artwork: Margherita Brunori / Photo: Nessim Stevenson