Ghanean reefs?

Jacques Laborel rutabaga at
Fri Jun 8 12:16:11 EDT 2001

Dear Gilles
Answering your mail : it seems important to use SCUBA, buddy diver and boat
on these coasts : surveying and sampling are somewhat difficult in apnea,
except in places were visibility is OK
As for coral fauna, there are few true "coral fishes" and the fish fauna is
that which was described by all classical books on west african coasts:
blue tangs, groupers and snappers are (were?) common but very few butterfly
fishes. Coral reef fish fauna begins to be noticeable in the offshore
islands (Principe, Sao Tome and Annobon, with a clear west indian
composition and a few endemics (a new species of Clepticus was recently
described  from Annobon).
Good luck

Dear Gilles

Although there are no signs of true coral reef growth on the coasts of
Ghana, I had the opportunity to make a limited underwater survey ofwest
african corals including  the Capes 3 points region in 1969-71.
  LABOREL J., 1974. West african reef corals, an hypothesis on their
origin. Proc. Second Interntl. Sympos. on coral reefs. Brisbane, 1, :

I can send you a photocopy of that paper and I shall be pleased to give you
a few extra details about the ghanean coasts.  I remember in particular of
the shallow west side of the point bearing the lighthouse, in front of the
village of Beyin (sorry if that name is not written correectly!)  in depths
of 5-8  metres, where large slabs of rock were covered by a remarkable
development of Schizoculina fissipara (flattened ecomorph), sometimes about
associated with a few other species such as Porites bernardi  and
Siderastrea cf radians.  Same facies was observed in a second dive slightly
offshore in about 20m water.
Water was relatively clear, in opposition to the other face of the cape
where we dived in pea-soup and coral life was reduced to ahermatypic
Dendrophyllia with some Gorgonians... ( "Reine-Pokou", December 16 and
I also had the opportunity to make several similar dives in March 1970:
	in front of Tema harbour : two dives10  and 20 m
	a few miles east of Tema (Vernon Bank, Kpone Bay),  10 metres
and whe had more orless the same ting: sparse colonies of flat to
sub-branching Schizoculina covering slanting ledges of drowned beach rocks
or sometimes lateritic rock.

Underwater photography was generally very difficult in reason of the
limited clearness (to say it politely) of the water.

 I think that what was called reefs before diving was commonplace are in
fact old beach rock ledges covered by a scarce growth of coral colonies,
Schizoculina fissipara being the dominant species
That important complex of Holocene sandstone formations surround the
shoreline from  Cape palms to Cate three Points), they have been well
investigated by several french geologists such as Jean Pierre TASTET :
tastet at, and  Louis MARTIN.

Out of Ghana, the Bay of Gabon, near Libreville near Cape Esterias and the
coasts of Equatorial Guinea display beautiful coral populations (slightly
richer) but always without any reef building...The only true reef building
I observed during the three years of my survey was a 10m wide patch of
Montastrea cavernosa  near the landing place in Anobon Island.
I hope you'll have the opportunity to discover new and interesting formations.
Yours truly
Jacques Laborel

Dives were done  thanks to a boat of the University of Ghana (diving with
me were Dr. J. Pople, zoologist and Dr David John, at that time a botanist
at Legon University)

surveydear coral listers,
>is anyone aware of an aledgedly small coral reef outcrop off the western
>part of the ghanaian coast around cape three points? its existence has
>apparently been reported in a publication dating back to 1935 (of which i do
>not have the details), and i have been told that coral detritus stemming
>from hermatypic corals can be found on the beaches around a place called
>"busua beach", just east of cape three points. coordinates would be in the
>order of 4deg 30' N and 2deg W.
>any feedback will be most appreciated.
>Gilles Hosch
>Associate Fisheries Officer
>FAO Regional Office for Africa
>PO Box 1628
>Accra, Ghana
>tel   +233 21 7010930
>fax  +233 21 7010943
>mob+233 24 284793
>For directions on subscribing and unsubscribing to coral-list or the
>digests, please visit, click on Popular on the
>menu bar, then click on Coral-List Listserver.

Jacques & Francoise Laborel
Chemin des grands Bassins,13600 La Ciotat, France
tel. (33) 04 42 83 60 32
fax. (33) 04 42 71 81 68
e-mail : rutabaga at
visitez nous sur

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