Canoe fishermen and fishmongers operating at the Tema Canoe Beach, had expressed their displeasure at an alleged attempt by the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) to take over a parcel of land at the beach.
The land in question stretches from behind the Tema Eastern Naval Base, through the ‘Five Beach’ to the landing beach.
The fishermen and fishmongers numbering over 500, who wore red bands on their wrists, sang war songs to express their displeasure on Friday, at a Press Conference.
The Conference was jointly organized by Corporate Social Responsibility Movement (CSRM), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) on social issues, and the Tema Canoe Owners.
Mr Richster Nii Amarh Amarfio, Executive Secretary of the CSRM, stated that the GPHA, about a week ago, informed the Chief Fisherman of plans to give out that parcel of land through the ‘Five Beach,’ to a Malaysian company for the building of palm oil silos.
Mr Amarfio said according to the GPHA, the silos would be piped through the sea for offshore loading into waiting ships.
Lamenting on the decision, he said the Tema Manhean beach, with over 200 canoes, contributed immensely to the fishing industry.
He noted that it was the safest landing beach in Ghana, and received huge number of migrant fishermen from all over the country.
He stated that while the fishermen dried and mended their nets, in addition to repairing their canoes on the said land, fishmongers also dried anchovies “Keta school boys), salted and smoked fish at the place.
Mr Amarfio said even though his outfit, and the fishing community were not against the GPHA establishing palm oil silos, and farms in Tema, they were not prepared to give up the said land.
“We are not against the GPHA helping to establish palm oil silos, and farms in Tema, we only believe that locating it at the ‘Five Beach’ and the adjoining parcel of land, will impact negatively on the livelihood of our people”.
He indicated that 65 percent of anchovies consumed in the country were dried on the land.
He added that the ‘Five Beach’ was the only beach suitable for swimming in the community, adding that it also hosted a shrine where the annual rituals for the commencement of the Homowo Festival was held.
The CSRM Executive Secretary further said the fisher folks, had plans to build a pre-school, health post and a storage facility on parts of the land.
Mr Saed Adjieteh, Chairman of the Tema Canoe Owners Association and Woleianye Awudum, Fishmongers Queen, jointly expressed their concern about the taking of most Tema lands, by government, for industrial and other purposes.
They pointed out that their livelihood, as well as the future of their children was at risk, since fishing was the only occupation they were engaged in.