Fish From the Shell: Its Potential in the Quest for Adequate Protein in Ghana

By Prof. Kobina Yankson, UCC Auditorium, March 18, 2004

CHAIRMAN: Rev. Prof. E. A. Obeng (Vice-Chacellor)


Ghana is a protein deficient country with access to less than 40% (Average) of the normal protein requirements for the human body. There is therefore the need to fully exploit all available sources of protein in order to improve on the health of the people which in turn, would impact on productivity. Of the available animal protein in Ghana finfish constitutes nearly 70% with the reminder coming from livestock and poultry. Unfortunately, since the early 1990s finfish production in Ghana, from both capture fishery and aquaculture, has consistently left a huge demand gap of more than 200,000 metric tones annually. Shellfish is one source of animal protein with immense potential in Ghana, but yearning for exploitation. Examples of such shellfish are the West African mangrove oyster (crassostrea tulipa) the West African bloody cockle (Anadara senills), the freshwater oyster (Etheria sp), the freshwater mussel (Aspatheria sp) and the Volta clam (Egeria radiate).

During the past 30 years, the lecturer and his research collaborators have conducted field and laboratory studies on the first three shellfish species named above as well as two foreign species. The thrust of the research has been on the biology and culturing of these edible bivalve mollucs; and this lecture highlights those findings that could be utilized for their mass production. It is emphasized that there is now a body of knowledge and technological know-how available at the department of Zoology, UCC that can be harnessed to establish a pilot oyster farm. The transfer of technology from such a farm to prospective oyster farmers would ensure the production of oysters to bridge our protein requirement gap as well as provide jobs for the coastal people, and oyster shells for the building, mining and poultry industries.


Prof. Kobina Yankson was born on september 14, 1949 at Gomoa Odina in the Central Region of Ghana to Mr. J.C. Yankson and Madam Ekua Otuwa, both of Gomoa Odina in the Central Region of Ghana. He is the last of 11 children his parents were blessed with.

Prof. Yankson stayed on at Gomoa Odina where he had much of his elementary school education having attended the local Methodist Primary and Middle Schools. He concluded his elementary education in 1963 at the Apam Methodist Middle School from where he entered the Apam Secondary School to study for both the "O' and ‘A' level certificates. Prof. Yankson entered the University of Cape Coast in 1970 to pursue a programme of study leading to the award of a Bachelor of Science (Education) degree in 1973.

Being among the best graduating students of his class, Professor Yankson was selected to do a year's programme leading to the award of the Bachelor of Science Honours degree, (B.Sc Hons) in 1974. After his national service as a Demonstrator in the Department of Zoology he was appointed full time Demonstrator in 1975. While serving as Demonstrator, he enrolled into the Masters programme of the Department on part-time basis and was awarded the M.Sc. (Zoology) degree in 1977. His status as Demonstrator was changed to Assistant Lecturer in 1977 upon obtaining his Masters degree.

He was again elevated to the position of Lecturer in the same Department after a year (i.e. in 1978). From 1980-1983. Professor Yankson studied at the University of Wales, Swansea for his Ph.D. (Zoology). While in Swansea, he also served as Demonstrator. He returned to his alma mater to continue his teaching and esearch duties and was subsequently promoted Senior Lecturer in 1987.

In 1988, he returned to the University of Wales, Swansea as a Postal-Doctoral Research Fellow. He also served as a visiting Research Scientist at Cell Systems, Cambridge Science Park, and U.K before returning to Cape Coast in 1989. In 1999, he was a visiting Scientist at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, U.K.

He was promoted Associate Professor of Zoology in 19994 and attained full professorship status in 2001.

Professor Yankson has taught several courses at both the under-graduate and post-graduate levels. He has supervised several project works and theses of masters and Ph.D. students.

He has researched and published extensively in the areas of Biology and culture of bivalve molluscs (i.e. cockles, oysters and mussels), Brackishwater Ecology and Fisheries, Parasitic Malacology and Macro-Invertebrates of Coastal Waters. His 40 publications include refereed journal articles, a book, conference proceedings and popular articles.

He has attended numerous local and international workshops and conferences at which he presented papers. He enjoys membership of many international Professional Association including the New York Academy of Sciences, Malacological Society of London, Network of Tropical Fisheries Sciences, African Academy of Sciences, West African Sciences Association and the Ghana Science Association.

Professor Yankson has won several professional honours, awards and fellowships some of which are the Darwin Initiative Fellowship; Fellow of the Institute of Biology, Ghana; Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellowship; Cited in "Who is Who" in Science and Technology Education in Africa', and selected ‘Man of the Year 1998' by the American Biographical Institute, etc.

His professional services include being External Examiner and Assessor for all the Public Universities in Ghana and CSIR, Referee for a number of local and International Science journals and Editorial Board Member for a number of Scientific Journals and Magazines including the Everyday Science for Schools Magazine. He was President of the West African Science Association and National President, Ghana Science Association 1993-95.

Professor Yankson has served on a number of national committees/bodies. He served on the National Committee on Marine and Coastal Ecosystems from 1986-87. He was a member of the National Joint Committee on Teacher Education in 1991. He was a member of the World Bank Commission for the mid-term review of the Ghana Fisheries sub-sector Capacity Building Project in 1998, and also served on the Wetland Typology Group of the Ghana National Wetland Strategy in the same year. He is currently a member of Board of Governors of Apam Secondary School.

Professor Yankson has served the University in several capacities. He was the Co-ordinator of the Laboratory Technicians Diploma Course 1986-88 and 1990-91. Head of Zoology Department 1989-90 and 1998-2001. Master of Valco Hall 1990-96, Ag. Director of Planning Unit 1996-2000, Dean of Faculty of Science 1998-2001 and Pro-Vice Chancellor 2001 to date. He has served on every statutory committee of the University from departmental to Council either as member or Chairman. More than 20 ad hoc committees have also had the services of Professor Yankson as either Chairman or member.

He is a keen sports enthusiast, and captained the UCC volleyball team for five years.

Professor Yankson is a Christian (Methodist), He is married to Grace Yankson and they have three (3) children, Jennifer, Kojo and Jean.

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