Shocker-Minister Says Only James Town Fish Is Wholesome

Beware of the fish you consume, because with the exception of those from the Coast of James Town in Accra, all others are contaminated with chemicals and as such, not good for consumption.

A recent test by the Ghana Standard Authority Samples of fish along the fishing communities, from Half Assin to Afloa, found the fish, except those from James Town to contain harmful chemicals which the fishermen use.

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mr. Nayon Bilijo, disclosed this on Wednesday during an interaction with fishermen and fish mongers, and consequently warned against the use of chemicals such as DDT, dynamite and other illegal methods for fishing since they have adverse effects on health, depletion of fish stock and cause.

He said to protect consumers from patronizing such unwholesome fish products; government was procuring special metres for testing chemicals in fish for the Fisheries Enforcement Unit (FEU) to enable it to test fish at the various shores and markets.

The visit formed part of the Minister’s programme to familiarize himself with problems confronting the fishing communities in order to find solutions to them.

The FEU, which is made up of personnel from the Fisheries Commission, Food and Drug Authority, Marine Unit of the Police Service, and the Ghana Navy would test, seize contaminated fish and destroy the consignment by burning.

“We cannot allow the mass poisoning of Ghanaians to continue, we have to clean up the system and make fish clean for everybody,” he said.

Mr. Bilijo expressed worry that the phenomenon had even made some European customers reject fish products export from Ghana.

He hope that the FEU would intensify its efforts to arrest fishermen that engaged in illegal methods of fishing including light fishing and seize their equipment to serve as a deterrent to others.

Mr. Bilijo therefore appealed to the Chief Fishermen to caution their colleagues on the negative effects of illegal fishing and assist the police to arrest those who engage in it.

He explained that the introduction of aquaculture formed part of government’s plans to improve the fishing business in view of dwindling stock at sea.

Mr. Bilijo called on landing beach committees to put measures in place to forestall the diversion of premix fuel as government subsidized it to enhance the operation of fishermen.

He noted that in line with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) manifesto to set up an insurance scheme for fishermen, a life insurance scheme and a general insurance scheme were being created.

Mr. Bilijo therefore advised the fishermen to make an input so that the policies would reflect their aspirations and help them live comfortably during times of loss or when they retire.

Earlier, Mr. Bilijo had inspected progress of work on a 300 metric tonnes cold store being constructed by government to add value and facilitate fish processing at Prampram.

The project is one of six cold stores being built with a Spanish grant of £7 million at six fishing communities; the other areas are Nyanyano, Kormantsi, Shama, Half Assin and New Takoradi.