President John Agyekum Kufuor on Friday performed the ceremony to signal official commencement of construction works on a 16.5 million-dollar ultra-modern Fishing Harbour and landing site at James Town in Accra.
This comes with an administration block, cold-store and refrigeration facilities, fuel depot, power station, net storage shed, fish market and an
area for mending nets.
"Messrs DHV", a Dutch Engineering Consortium, is undertaking the job.
It is the first of 20 fishing infrastructure development projects the Government is rolling out along the country's coastline, stretching from the Western through Central, Greater Accra to the Volta Region as well as along
the Volta Lake at a total cost 148 million dollars.
They are made up two Fishing Harbours, 12 landing sites and six
cold-store and refrigeration facilities.
A seven-million-euro grant under the Second Spanish Protocol
Agreement with Ghana has been secured to fund some of the projects.
President Kufuor announced that a National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy Document had been developed to regulate activities of that sub-sector
as part of the push towards the sector's modernization.
The Document would serve as blueprint for the management of fisheries resources and development of aquaculture in the country.
Besides, fibre-glass canoes and inboard engines were being introduced.
Added to these, was the establishment of Life Guard Detachments at all the Fishing Harbours under the auspices of the Ghana Navy.
President Kufuor said, to help end the problem of poaching by foreign deep-sea fishing trawlers, the Government was equipping the Navy with more patrol boats to enable them to effectively police the nation's territorial waters and protect its fishing stocks.
He used the occasion to calm the anxieties of a section of the population about potential friction between Ghanaian fishermen and the oil companies, when the country begins to pump its oil.
He said the necessary laws to regulate the oil industry, including environmental protection issues, were being worked on in Parliament.
"Every effort is being made to ensure that Ghana derives maximum advantage from her position of a late comer, to learn to avoid some of the pitfalls encountered by the older and well-established oil producing countries."
Mrs Gladys Asamah announced that the Government had started the process of repossessing the Tema Boatyard, divested in 1996 at a cost of 300 GH Cedis, as a result of the inability of the company to refurbish boats and canoes, which was putting the lives of fishermen in danger.
More than 40 boats and canoes, she said, had been lost over the past two years due to the non-performance of the company.
Mr Jan Oomen, Director of International Projects of DHV, said the modern facilities would ensure much cleaner and more hygienic fish handling and storage operations in compliance with mainstream requirements of the European Union.
Nii Abio Twerequandah, Chief Fisherman of Greater Accra, recognized the marked growth and development of the fishing industry through the establishment by the Government of a separate Ministry for Fisheries.
There was therefore every reason for the fishing community to be grateful for this.