President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Friday, commissioned the €85-million Elmina Fishing Port rehabilitation and expansion project in the historic city of Elmina in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) Municipality of the Central Region.
The construction of the biggest fishing harbour in the region, which was completed in 30-months, has a docking space and deep marine access to ensure the durability and sustainability of the harbour.
Work on the project commenced in August 2020, with the objective to boost tourism and the salt industry, increase accessibility of the port and extend its capacity to improve the fishing industry, in Elmina and the Central Region.
The facility comes with marine and civil infrastructure including a south breakwater of 450 metres in length with cubipods round head and a north breakwater of 160 metres in length tied into the existing sea defense.
It comes with a large basin of 65,000 m2 with dredged depths between three-metres to five-metres and quay walls of total length of 400 metres, including an 80metres touristic quay at the Elmina Castle.
The magnificent facility has an administration block with offices and a viewing deck, a new fish market, a net mending area, auction hall, an ablution facility, toilets, and a Day Care structure for toddlers.
Significant marine and civil works went into the project executed by Bellsea Limited, with the International Marine and Dredging Consultants (IMDC) being the consulting engineers.
Commissioning the facility at a colourful ceremony, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo commended the Chiefs and the people of Elmina and various contractors for cooperating to work assiduously to meet various operational requirements.
He said the facility represented a significant milestone in empowering the people through job creation to compliment the work of the Takoradi and Tema harbours.
Nevertheless, President Akufo-Addo slammed former President John Dramani Mahama for describing the project as a political gimmick to play away the people of Elmina and the Central Region at large.
Rather, he indicated that the record completion of the facility was a manifestation of the government’s pledge to invest in the fisheries sector to improve the livelihoods of all players in the sector.
Through the multifaceted investment in the sector, the President was optimistic about increasing the income of fishers and cutting down post-harvest loses to reduce fish imports in the medium to long term.
President Akufo-Addo said the fisheries sector contributed about 11 per cent of the country’s GDP and 30 per cent of the country’s workforce directly and indirectly and gave assurance that other landing beaches strategically positioned along the coastal stretch of Ghana were at various stages of completion.
They included the landing beaches at Mamford, Winneba, Senya Bereku, Gomoa Feteh, in the Central region as well as Teshie and James Town in the Greater Accra Region and Keta in the Volta Region.
The President bemoaned the negative impact of illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing activities that were contributing to the decline in fish stocks and asked them to desist from it to save marine resources.
On behalf of the array of contractors who executed the projects, Mr Joachim Lebbe, the Project Manager for BellSea Limited, one of the contractors said structures had been uniquely designed and constructed with the people of Elmina being one of the major stakeholders; hence their input were inculcated accordingly.
“I think this project has been an example of good cooperation between the government, local communities, stakeholders, engineers, and contractors. From design to completion of the execution, a continuous interaction took place between the several stakeholders to ensure the most possible needs could be addressed in the design of the project.
“Maximum possible new port area was created to also make sufficient space for local entrepreneurs to expand their activities in the future,” he said.
Mrs Justina Marigold Assan, Central Regional Minister said the fisheries sector remained a key contributor to the growth of Ghana’s economy, providing food security, poverty alleviation, health, and jobs.
With 70 per cent of the people in the region engaging in fishing and farming, she was hopeful that the facility would ease the unemployment challenges in the area to improve their livelihoods along the 138 coastlines.
Nana Kodwo Conduah VI, the Omanhen of Edina Traditional Area, expressed gratitude to the government for completing the project on time.
“I wish to propose that this harbour is named “Nana Addo Habour” and we also wish to bestow on you a chieftaincy title “Nana Begyedinaman I” for your support for the community” he said.
The Omanhen of Elmina Traditional Area also urged artisanal fishermen to comply with the government’s planned closed season this year and appealed to the government to regulate the activity of saiko to support the livelihoods of fishers.