General News of Friday, 19 October 2018
Some locals believed to be fishmongers from Volivo, Alabonya and Aveloenye near Asutsuare in the Shai Osudoku District of the Greater Accra Region, are reportedly carting dead tilapia for processing as dry salted fish locally known as ‘koobi’.
Although authorities are yet to determine what killed the fishes which were seized by the Fisheries Commission, the fishmongers are secretly carting the dead fish for sale to the unsuspecting public.
Over three trucks full of dead tilapia have so far been buried by a Chinese fishing company, Fujian Farm at Asutsuare, under the supervision of the Fisheries Commission.
Citi News‘ Kojo Agyeman reported that whereas officials of the company have dug a big pit where the dead tilapia are being buried, “local folks at Aveloenye are carting the dead and rotten tilapia across the Volta Lake.”
“When they saw our team coming they just sped off in their boats and crossed to the other side of the Volta Lake. They were spotted with more than six bags of the dead fish,” he added.
Speaking to Citi News, Municipal NADMO Coordinator in the Lower Manya Krobo area, Zakaria Adam said they are going to involve the police to stop the trend.
“In fact, we have just invited the police to come because they [those carting the tilapia] have crossed the river and we don’t have any speed boat to follow them. And we are coordinating with our colleagues here in this district to ensure that we will have people supervising the burial at every time.”
Zakaria said he will also engage the local NADMO officials to do follow ups in neighbouring towns to ensure that the dead tilapia are not used for ‘koobi’ or consumed by anyone.
“We are not conversant with this area because this is not my jurisdiction. Immediately what I have to do next is to contact the NADMO officials here so that we move in immediately to parts of the villages to ensure that we stop those preparing the ‘Koobi’ with what they gathered here. It has happened already, but we should be able to curtail it so that it does not spread,” he added.
There are fears some of the fishes are already on the market because per reports, the fishes started dying a few days ago.
Meanwhile, the co-founder of Fujian Farm, Jonathan Aryee, has denied reports that fish mongers are carting the dead tilapia for ‘koobi’.
Speaking to Citi News, shesaid “I’m not aware of that situation.”
“What I know is that all the dead tilapia are being discarded properly. We’ve reported to the various sector state institutions including EPA, Standards board. They all have come for samples of water for analyzing. We are yet to receive a full report as to what the cause is.”
18 tons of tilapia destroyed
The shoals of fish, believed to be about 18 tons, were were allegedly imported into the country from China.
But Mr. Aryee said the fishes were not imported from China.
“These are speculations by other rival companies. But as far as we are concerned they are all local tilapia,” he added.
Unwholesome tilapia situation under control – Fisheries Ministry
The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development has assured the public that it is safe to buy tilapia from the market despite this incident.
Chief Director of the Ministry, Prof. Francis Nunoo, said “We have sent our officers to the ground. We have added fish and fish experts and agriculturists from Accra to go and help contain the situation. We have ensured that no dead or contaminated fish goes out. We will continue to monitor and pick up samples to test the quality of the fish, the water and all other parameters before we will be able to come out categorically that this is the problem,” he added.
President of the Ghana Aquaculture Association, Jennifer Sodji, in a Citi News interview said Ghanaians should not panic over the matter.
“…We realized that the fishes were dying and then we alerted the fisheries commission. EPA also moved in there to investigate the fish at the farm. The general public is not supposed to be worried about it because as we speak part of that farm has been closed down,” she added.