Keta Lagoon Ramsar Site

Country/territory: Ghana

IBA criteria met: A4i, A4iii (2001)
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Area: 53,000 ha

Ghana Wildlife Society
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2022 not assessed very high medium
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Site description (2001 baseline)
Keta Lagoon lies in the far south-east of the country, near the international frontier with Togo. The lagoon is an extensive, brackish water-body situated to the east of the Volta river estuary. The site comprises the open water of the lagoon and the surrounding flood-plains and mangrove swamps. Although considered to be an open lagoon, it is effectively closed for most of the year. The area of open water varies with the season, but is estimated to be c.30,000 ha, stretching for c.40 km along the coast and separated from the sea by a narrow ridge. Inflow into the lagoon is from three main sources: from the Todzie river (which enters and fills the neighbouring Avu lagoon in wet years and overflows into Keta lagoon via several small tributaries), from the Aka and Belikpa streams (which enter Keta lagoon directly from the north) and, to a limited extent, from the Volta river itself. The construction of the Akosombo Dam, upstream on the Volta river, has been blamed for a number of ecological changes which have occurred within the wetland in the recent past, including silting and blockage of the channels that interconnect the numerous lagoons. This is believed to have affected the natural drainage pattern such that large areas of the lagoon and marshlands dry up in the dry season and serious flooding now occurs in the wet season. The lagoon is bordered by numerous settlements and the surrounding flood-plain consists of marsh, scrub, farmland and substantial mangrove stands, which are heavily exploited for fuelwood. Occupational activities include lagoon fishing, salt extraction and crop farming.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. Keta lagoon is the most important wetland on the Ghanaian coast for waterbirds and, together with neighbouring Songor (GH036), constitutes the fourth most important waterbird site on the Gulf of Guinea coast. Some 76 waterbird species, with estimated maximum numbers well over 100,000 birds, have been recorded. Other species which occur in large numbers include Dendrocygna viduata, Himantopus himantopus, Calidris ferruginea and C. minuta as well as several heron and egret species. The most important parts of the lagoon for waterbirds are the Fiahor, Woe, Tegbi, Adina and Afiadenyigba sections.

Non-bird biodiversity: Small numbers of three species of marine turtles, Lepidochelys olivacea, Chelonia mydas and Dermochelys coriacea (all EN), nest along the beach.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Keta Lagoon Ramsar Site. Downloaded from on 11/12/2023.