President Nana AddoDankwa Akufo-Addo has commissioned the much-awaited Elmina Fishing Port rehabilitation and expansion project in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) Municipality of the Central Region.
Construction of the biggest fishing harbour in the region was valued at € 84 million and completed within 30 months.
It 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 to the port and extend its capacity to improve the fishing industry at Elmina and the Central Region in general.
The facility comes with marine and civil infrastructure, including a south breakwater of 450 metres in length with cubipods round head.
It has a north breakwater of 160 metres in length tied into the existing sea defence.
The port also has a large basin of 65,000 m2 with dredged depths between three metres to five metres and quay walls of a total length of 400 metres, including an 80 metres 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, an auction hall, an ablution facility, toilets, and a daycare 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 it at a colourful ceremony on Friday, President Akufo-Addo commended the chiefs and the people of Elmina and the various contractors for cooperating to work to meet the operational requirements.
He said the facility represented a significant milestone in empowering the people through job creation to complement the work of the Takoradi and Tema harbours.
Nevertheless, President Akufo-Addo criticised former President John Dramani Mahama’s description of the project as a political gimmick to play on the intelligence of the people of Elmina and the Central Region at large.
Rather, its record completion was a manifestation of the Government’s pledge to invest in the fisheries sector to improve the livelihoods of all players there, he said.
Through the multifaceted investment in the sector, the President was optimistic about increasing the income of fishers and cutting down post-harvest losses to reduce fish imports in the medium to long term.
He said the fisheries sector contributed about 11 per cent of the country’s GDP and 30 per cent of its workforce directly and indirectly.
He gave the assurance that other landing beaches strategically positioned along the coastal stretch of Ghana were at various stages of completion, and would be finalised soon.
These are the landing beaches at Mamford, Winneba, Senya Bereku, and 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 largely contributing to the decline in fish stocks and asked the perpetrators to desist from that practice.
On behalf of the array of contractors who executed the project, Mr Joachim Lebbe, the Project Manager for BellSea Limited, said the structures had been uniquely designed and constructed with the input of the people of Elmina, being the major stakeholders.
“I think this project has been an example of good cooperation between the Government, local communities, stakeholders, engineers and contractors,” he said.
“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.”
Mrs Justina Marigold Assan, the 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 will ease the unemployment challenges in the area to improve their livelihoods.
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 to community development,” he said.
He urged artisanal fishermen to comply with the government’s planned closed season this year and appealed for the regulation of the activity of ‘saiko’ fishers to support the livelihoods of fisher folk.