By Prof. John Blay Jnr., UCC Auditorium, May 14, 2009.
CHAIRPERSON : Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang (Vice-Chancellor)
Lagoon tilapa Sarotherodon melanotheron, also known as the black chinned tilapia, is a common fish in lagoons in Ghana. It constitutes over 90% of the ichthyomass in these habitats. Unfortunately, its potential contribution to the coastal fishery production has largely been overlooked although it supports important local substance and commercial fisheries. This paper presents a review of the biology of populations of the species in Ghana. It will also show how characteristics as tolerance range of brackish conditions, food habits, growth, reproductive habits, and ability to survive under harsh environmental conditions, influence the production of populations. Recommendations are made for managing the natural lagoon and reservoir stocks, and aquaculture of the species.
Professor John Blay was born at Half Assini in the Western Region on 7th July 1949.He had his primary education at Nsawam, Kumasi, Axim and Nkroful. In 1963 he gained admission to Half Assini Secondary School and obtained his O'Level Certificate in 1967. He had his A'Level education at Apam Secondary School from 1968 to1970. He was admitted to the University of Cape Coast in 1970 and obtained a B.Sc. General (Education) degree in 1973, a B.Sc. (Honours) Zoology degree in 1974 and a Masters degree in Zoology in 1977.
Prof. Blay was employed as a Fisheries Research Officer at the Institute of Aquatic Biology from 1978 to 1980 before taking up an appointment as a lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Ilorin (Nigeria). He studied for a doctoral degree programme at Unilorin on part-time basis from 1983 to 1986, and obtained a Ph. D. degree in October 1986.
In November 1986, Prof. Blay returned to his alma mater as a Lecturer in the then Department of Zoology. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1989, and he became an Associate Professor in 1998 and a Full Professor in 2006. He has so far supervised four Ph.D. and five Masters' students.
Prof. Blay has served the University in many capacities including membership of several committees and Boards. He has been the Head of Department of Laboratory Technology, Head of Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, and Dean of Students.
He has served as;
(a) Vice President (Cape Coast Branch) of the Ghana Science Association from 1988 to1989;
(b) President of the Cape Coast Branch of the Ghana Science Association from 1993 to 1995;
(c) Member of the Ghana National Committee of the International Oceanographic Commission from 1996 to 1998;
(d) Member of the Monitoring Group for the Fisheries sub-sector Capacity Building Project in 1998;
(e) Member of the Marine Fisheries Management Operation Committee in 1999;
(f) Member of the National Biodiversity Committee from 2002 to date;
(g) Member of the Board of Directors of Ghana Hostels Limited from 2002 to date;
(h) Member of the Selection Team for National Best Fisherman;
(i) Panel Member of the National Accreditation Board for Assessment of Departments of Biological Sciences in Ghanaian Universities in 2005
(j) An examiner for undergraduate and graduate examinations and assessor of applicants' publications for promotion in sister Universities since 1994;
(k) A member of the Ghana Science Association;
(l) A member of the Network of Tropical Fisheries Scientists;
(m) A member of the Ghana Institute of Biology; and
(n) A fellow of the Center for School and Community Science and Technology Studies (SACOST) at the University of Education, Winneaba.
He has refereed articles for a number of reputable international and local journals such as the Journal of Fish Biology, Ocean and Coastal Management, Ghana Journal of Science, Ghana Journal of Agricultural Science, Discovery and Innovation, Journal of Natural Sciences, and West African Journal of Applied Ecology. He is currently a member of the Editorial Board of Ocean and Coastal Management an international journal published by Elsevier Publishers, Ghana Journal of Science, and Journal of Natural Sciences.
His academic activities have earned him the following awards since joining the University; Association of Commonwealth Universities Fellowship tenured at the National Aquatic Resources Agency of Sri Lanka in 1990; Commonwealth Fellowship tenured at the University of North Wales (Bangor) in 1994/95; German Academic Exchange (DAAD) study Grant tenured at the Center for Marine Tropical Ecology University of Bremen in 19997; and Fulbright Senior Scholar tenured at the University of Delaware in 2003. Under the TALIF Grant he visited Auburn University (Alabama, USA) August 2006 where he studied the graduate programmes offered in their Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures.
He has twenty nine published papers which can be found in renowned journals as the journal of Fish Biology, Aquaculture, Fisheries Research, and Malacologia, Archiv fur Hydrobiologie, Journal of Applied Ichthyology, Ghana Journal of Science, and Tropical Ecology. He has also presented papers at many conferences and workshops, and has four consultancy reports.
Professor Blay is married to Elsie and they have three children - Beverly, Leslie and Lois.