The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU) methods which are depleting fish stock must not be allowed to continue in the country.
“Our beautiful coastal wetlands are threatened by high volumes of plastic and metal waste that choke breeding habitats for fish must not be encouraged; let us protect endangered species, achieve food security, and protect our oceans for the future” he said.
According to him, Ghana’s waters are recognized internationally as being very safe. “We will not allow pirates or criminals to rob us of this hard-won reputation, and create a sense of insecurity on our waters”
Also, he said “To the fourteen tuna fishing companies that are reported to have recently halted operations due to the menace posed by the pirates, I urge them to resume. They have the full assurance of government of their protection and safety, as they go about their day-to-day activities”.
He assured them that government will not leave them to fight this menace alone, the full force of the state’s security apparatus is being marshalled to curb the threats of piracy.
The President was speaking at the inauguration of a US$20 million refurbished Sekondi (Albert Bosomtwi-Sam) Fishing Harbour at Sekondi.
He noted that the completion of the harbour is critical; because the fishing industry is an important mainstay not only of many of the residents of Sekondi, but also of some two million Ghanaians across the country.
“I extend our sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Japan, who, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), are responsible for the technical and financial support given to this project. We cherish the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship that exist between our two countries, which are characterized by mutual respect”, the President said.
He pointed out that 70 per cent of the earth’s surface is made up of water, and account for the very origins of life, as we know it. The world’s water bodies provide food and sustenance, mineral resources, energy, employment and livelihoods, transport and recreation.
“Indeed, on our part, not only does fish constitute a substantial portion of the Ghanaian diet, fisheries are essential to the livelihood and economy of Ghana. Indeed, the fishing industry accounts for nearly 4% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and provides many employment opportunities for our young men and women” he added.
President Akufo-Addo mentioned to the fisherfolks that plans are underway for the construction of mini-fishing harbours and landing sites across the coastal belt of the country.
Already, he said government has signed an agreement with the Chinese Government for the establishment of the Jamestown fishing port complex, at a cost of US$50 million, with construction scheduled to commence this year.
Also, he said under the Fisheries Sector Infrastructural Development Programme, the Ministry of Fisheries will commence the development of three landing sites at Winneba, Mumford and Axim; rehabilitate three public hatcheries at Vea, Sankana and Dormaa-Ahenkro; rehabilitate three fish health laboratories at Takoradi, Koforidua and Kumasi; complete and commission the Anomabo Fisheries College; and refurbish the Tema Boat Yard to increase productivity of fisher folk.
“I am hereby charging the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), responsible for supervision of this facility, to take good care of it in order to protect the US$20million investment for current and future generations” he said.
Mr. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, Minister for Transport said the facility will provide direct and indirect jobs for the people of Sekondi, Shama and its environs.
He said the Ministry will ensure efficient management of the facility; it is also the duty of the users to use the facility with care to prolong its economic life.
Mr. Tsutomu, Himeno, Japanese Ambassador to Ghana said JICA’s cooperation aims to contribute for Ghana to become the transportation hub in West Africa
“In line with the vision, the Project for Fisheries Promotion in Sekondi was implemented to strengthen the capacity and functions of Sekondi Fishing Harbour. I believe this facility will contribute not only to efficient coastal fishery operations, but also to the growth of the fishing industry”, he said.
“It is my hope that the facility will be utilized for further development of the sector in Ghana and in order to secure sustainable development” he added.
About the Sekondi Fishing Harbour
The Fishing Harbour occupies about 200kilometers out of about 500km of the total length of the coast line of Ghana. In 1998, the project for the construction of Sekondi Fishing Port was implemented by Japanese Grant Aid Cooperation as phase 1, which includes the construction of Breakwater (200m), Landing Berth (50m), Preparation /Resting Berth (115m), Canoe Jetty (76m), Driveway (490m) and Ice making Plant (15 ton/day).
Since the completion of Phase 1, more inshore vessels used the Sekondi Fishing Harbour than it was planned (about 50 inshore vessels) and the number of registered inshore fishing vessels reached 106, which sometimes increased to 123 vessels during the peak season; the number was twice the original plan.
The landing fish catch volume of inshore vessels has increased to about 2,800 tons in 2010, making it twice of 1,300 tons in 2005. Additionally, the average length of vessels has become longer (15m length with 4.1m width) than before (10m length with 2.5 m width).
Due to changes in the operational environment, the fishing harbour, have been stretched beyond the designed capacity of phase 1 and has caused declined in the functioning of the harbour’s facility with congestion in all the areas of Harbour basin, wharf facilities as well as the land facilities.
The US$20 million, has equipped the harbour with a lay-by wharf, access road to boats, a fish market shed, fuel dumps, an administration block, a fresh water storage tank and a state-of-the-art ice-making machine. This ice-making machine has the capacity to produce some 30 tons of ice per day to preserve the catch, as against the previous capacity of 15 tons of ice per day.
It is expected that there would be a substantial rise in the activities of fisherfolk and traders in Sekondi, and in surrounding communities.