Tema, Oct 26, GNA- As part of government's effort to revamp the fishing industry, nine cold store facilities would be constructed along the entire shoreline of the country at a total cost of 10 million Euros, Mrs. Gladys Asmah, Minister of Fisheries said on Wednesday.
Mrs Asmah, who said this during an inspection tour of the Tema Fishing Harbour however apologised to the fishing community in Tema that they were not included in that package because she had a misconception that they already had one.
"Sorry, I did not include Tema in the first package, but I promise to see what can be done so that Tema also gets one as early as possible," she said.
She said plans were far advanced at promoting aquaculture farms throughout the country, both within the sea and inland waters, hence the need for fishermen in Tema to get involved.
Mrs. Asmah said for the sustenance of the fish from the aquaculture farms and from deep-sea fishing, blast freezers would also be constructed for reservation purposes. She promised to facilitate loan contracts for the fishermen if only they would also pledge to pay back the loan.
"Some of you are in the habit of contracting loans then, relocate without paying back. I would assist you to get the loans on condition that you also promise that you would put measures in place that would ensure that anyone who took the loan pays back," She said. The Fisheries Minister assured the Tema fishing community that their problems would be tackled slowly and gradually till all the problems were solved.
The fishermen complained about how damaged the net mending loft was, and the need for the whole structure to be reconstructed to avert any possible disaster since almost all the wood used for the construction was rotten.
The fishermen making the appeal through Mr Tete Tetteh, Assistant Chief Fisherman also called for the dredging of the Tema Canon Beach, which they described as chocked.
They said the canon bay was so choked that when the tide was low, the canons were not able to move out to see because they stood on mud and silt.
The fishermen also called on the sector ministry to help them purchase marine engines for the construction of new boats, describing those in use as being as old as 30 to 35 years.
The fishmongers also called for the provision of a cold store, expansion of the market as well as making it airy to ensure a longer shelf life for the fishes as well as the comfort of the sellers. The fishermen at the end of the discussions pledged to make a contribution of 100 million cedis for government to supplement towards the construction of a blast freezer as early as possible to help in the preservation of the fish.
She praised the Tema European Market women who used modern scales for weighing of the fishes for the standard they had set for themselves and urged them to extend their expertise into other areas.