Ghana’s waters are biologically diverse with different fish species due to different ecological habitats and niches harboring several cryptic fish species. However, the fish production has reduced over the past decade; hence an urgent conservation and management strategies are required to save Ghanaian fishery such as accurate identification of species to formulate species-specific conservation and management strategies. Molecular method of fish identification, DNA barcoding, has proven its efficacy in species identification for both freshwater and marine species. In recent years, DNA barcoding has been accepted as a bio-identification system for living organisms globally. This system is fast and produces accurate species identification by using a short DNA sequence marker from a standard region of the DNA sequence of an organism’s genome to identify it as belonging to a particular individual or species based on Cytochrome C Oxidase type I (COI/ Cox 1) gene instead of the whole genome. Unfortunately, unlike the developed countries, this molecular method of fish identification is new in Ghana. This review article aims to examine the issues regarding fish identification and the need for DNA barcoding as a tool for taxonomic identification, grouping, and naming of fish species in Ghana. Also, this review takes a look at the current status and future direction of DNA barcoding fisheries in Ghana. In addition, the benefits of DNA Barcoding in fishery management and conservation are discussed.
Key words: DNA barcoding, Ghana, marine species, current status, management, conservation.
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