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20.11.2008 Regional News

A Fishing Harbour For Elmina

By Samuel Amoako & Cliff Ekuful, Elmina -

PRESIDENT J.A. Kufuor yesterday cut the sod for work to begin on a  fishing harbour at Elmina.

The project will be completed within 24 months.

The  ceremony is the eighth the  President has performed for the construction of 14 fishing harbours and 12 landing sites in the Volta, Greater Accra, Central and the Western  regions.

They are in Half Assini, Axim, New  Takoradi, Sekondi, Shama, Moree and James Town in the Western Central and Greater Accra regions, respectively.

The fishing harbours when completed, would among other things,  have a landing sites, an area for mending nets, two fuel depots, an administration block, fish market, a power station, net storage shed and a day care centre.

President Kufuor said the fishing industry was an important economic  activity that needed to be  given all the attention that it required.

He said since the beginning of his administration everything possible had been done to ensure that fishing in the country was brought to the levels of those that exist elsewhere in the developed countries.

He said here was the need to transform and modernise the operations of the fisherfolks who constitute 10 per cent of the country's population in order for them to realize their full potentials.

President Kufuor said Ghana's fishermen were adventurous and perhaps  most gifted in their occupation but were still locked up in their traditional fishing practices and  handicapped by their outmoded canoes.

He said it was the policy of the government to modernise the entire agricultural sector including the fishing sub-sector and in line with this, a National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy Document has been developed to regulate activities in the sub-sector as part of the modernisation process.

Already government was working with the fishermen not only to  maximise their  catch but also to adopt the best practices to increase their incomes.

Meanwhile, the Government has secured a deal with an Indian company to relocate to Ghana  to help in the manufacture of  fibre glass  canoes for the fishermen.

This, according to him, would enable them to do away with their antiquated canoes and nets as well as save the forest from depletion.

President Kufuor said in addition to this, steps were being taken to equip the Navy to effectively patrol the territorial waters of the country to protect its fish stocks from foreign fishermen.

He later cut the sod for work to begin on the landing site at Mumford also in the Central Region.

The Mumford pro-ject would have the same facilities as those  at Elmina.

Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Fisheries, said with the completion of the projects throughout the country, Ghana would become the fishing hub of West Africa.