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Regional News Sun, 2 Oct 2016

Fisheries Ministry to improve coastal sanitation

The Ministry of Fishery and Aquaculture Development is set to construct an ultramodern structure to improve sanitation and hygiene conditions along the coastal areas of the country.

The facility, upon completion, would be 30,000mm by 21,000mm, and contain a 12-seater toilet, six-unit washroom, biogas plant, borehole water reservoir, and pavilions.

Launching the coastal sanitation project at Axim in the West Region, the Minister of Fishery and Aquaculture Development, Sherry Ayittey, said in Phase ‘1’ of the project, the Greater Accra Region would benefit from three of the facilities, Central Region three, Volta Region, three, Western Region, three and Eastern Region, two.

The project, purposed to transform coastal sanitation through improved technology, was under the theme “Coastal Sanitation: Our Health, Our Business.”

Addressing chiefs, fishermen, fishmongers and other members of the Axim community, the Minister said the social coastal project was aimed at ensuring hygienic conditions in fishing communities to boost fishing activities.

She said the Ministry was collaborating with the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations to employ about 5, 000 youth across the country, under National Youth Employment, to keep the coastlines clean and tidy.

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According to her, a very high amount of plastics end up in the sea and other water bodies, which have had a negative impact on fish production, adding: “The first phase of the project will be implemented in 13 selected fishing communities across the country, including Anto Apewosika.”

She indicated that the project was necessary, because Ghana exports close to five million metric tonnes of fish to Europe annually, and it was prudent that sanitation conditions at the various beaches meet high hygienic standards.

“Therefore, there is the need to ensure hygienic sanitation conditions at the landing beaches, and fishing communities in general, so that the fishing industry could take advantage out there, in terms of export of fish, and earn incomes for themselves and the country,” she noted.

She added that if opportunities in the fishing industry are well harnessed, the nation will benefit greatly in employment creation, foreign exchange and infrastructure development.

She stated that the President, in pursuance to better the lives of fisher folks, has come out with several initiatives to improve their lives above the poverty line, as they contribute to nutrition needs and food security of the country.

Ms. Ayittey mentioned distribution of outboard motors at a subsidised price, and supply of wire mesh and aluminium basins to fish processors and traders, as part of the government’s intervention to enhance productivity.

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Currently, over 1,600 outboard motors have been distributed, and the Ministry is liaising with MASCLO, under the presidential initiative, to provide tricycles to the fishermen, to make transporting the fishes to the cold stores and various markets easier.

She also encouraged the fisher folks to register onto the Fisherman Insurance Scheme, which is aimed at providing cover for their canoes, crew members and outboard motors.

The Member of Parliament of the area, Kweku T. Kesi, pleaded with the people to shun the act of defecating on the shores, since the beaches hold the potential of attracting tourists and generating income for the communities.

He said clean and hygienic shores will reduce cost of health treatment and improve productivity.

He, however, warned that after the completion of the facility, any person found attending to nature’s call at the beaches will be arrested and fined.

Source: thechronicle.com.gh