General News of Saturday, 20 October 2018
Large quantities of poisoned tilapia have hit town after some unscrupulous persons carted the unwholesome fish for sale to unsuspecting consumers in spite of the surveillance mounted by officials to stop the act.
Officials of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and National Security had earlier destroyed 18 kilograms of the harmful tilapia after several tons of the fish began to die in their habitat early this week.
Social media fueled fears over the poisoned fish after pictures went virile over the last 48 hours.
Although surveillance has been mounted by relevant state agencies to stop the poisoned stuff from being smuggled to consumers, it appears bad guys have outwitted them, as some of the poisoned tilapia have found their way onto the dining tables of consumers.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in collaboration with the Food and Drug Authority (FDA), has initiated investigations into the debacle which unfolded at Asutsuare in the Shai Osudoku District of the Greater Accra Region.
About 18 tons of the wholesome tilapia being reared by China Fujian, marketers of Volta Star Tilapia Limited died due to what management of the company suspected to be an act of sabotage by a rival Chinese fish farm company, compelling regulators to initiate investigations into the issue.
Officials of EPA and FDA took samples of water bodies, feed and the fish, to the laboratory to establish the cause of the death of the tilapia, a situation which has caused fear and panic among especially, tilapia consumers.
Confirming the incident to DAILY GUIDE at the site, Carl Fiati, Director in-charge of Natural Resources at EPA, mentioned that management of the affected company communicated to EPA last Thursday about suspected poisoning of their fishes by a rival Chinese firm nearby.
He said the EPA responded swiftly with an investigation into the mass perishing of the fish stock.
Correspondingly, the director disclosed that the water quality, standard of housekeeping and other parameters regarding the rearing of the fishes would be assessed.
According to him, various factors could contribute to the death of the fishes, including pollution, poisoning and lack of oxygen in the water in which they were being reared.
In a telephone interview with DAILY GUIDE, James Lartey, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of FDA stated that they are working hard to ensure that the unwholesome tilapia found at Asutsuare did not get onto other markets for consumption by the unsuspecting public.
Meanwhile, Prof. F.K.E. Nunoo, Chief Director, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, said in a radio interview with Accra-based Citi FM yesterday that the two Chinese companies had been stopped from further production.
He allayed fears that the fishes could enter into the market, adding that the situation had been contained and that the farms, which are under close supervision had been quarantined.
“What I am telling you is that our officers have gone there to ensure that the tilapias do not go to the market.”
According to him, officers are monitoring all nearby farms closely and would not leave any stone unturned over the incident he described as isolated.
Zakaria Abdul-Kadir Adam, Director of NADMO, in the Lower Manya Krobo Municipality, described the incident as worrying.
“Some people are said to be digging up the unwholesome fish for processing into salted fish or Koobi for sale on the market.
The NADMO Director called for close collaboration between stakeholders to contain the situation.
As at yesterday, the company was still burying some of the dead fish close to the Volta Lake.