Elmina – A Fishing Villiage

Elmina Fishing Village surrounds the castle there. Aside from the important role of education about the horrific history of the slave trade there, the fishing industry there is significantly more fascinating to me. We took a tour of the harbor, and it was the highlight of our visit to the Cape Coast area.

There are different types of boats for different types of fish. The smaller vessels just go out for the day, and the boats cost around 10,000 USD and can hold a crew of up to 10. The larger boats, those catching tuna, for example, will go for a week or two and have a crew of 25. These boats cost around 100,000 USD. The profit generated per month is about 10% of the boat cost. A tuna vessel, therefore, brings in around 10,000 USD per month.

However, at least in Ghana, no additional licenses are being issued because the fish population is already in massive decline due to overfishing. That means only replacement boats can be built, not additional boats.

In some ways, this village seems like a historic look back at what an earlier version of the Makoko community in Nigeria might have been like. At a minimum, the stark nature of children swimming in the same water that people are defecating in makes it hard not to associate the two fishing villages, even though they are almost 1,000 km apart.

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