The Fish Health Unit under the Fisheries Commission (FC) organized a training for Fisheries officers and Fishers in the Greater Accra Region on the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) to check illegal fishing activities and wholesomeness of fish landings at the shore.
The training aims at familiarizing Fisheries Officers and Fishers with the use of the Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDTs) Kits and also to sensitize them on the dangers associated with the use and consumption of formalin and explosives residue impregnated fish.
The training is part of the mandate of the FC to ensure safe and quality fish and fishery products, through the reduction of health risks along the fisheries value chain.
The Executive Director of the Fisheries Commission, Mr. Michael Arthur Dadzie, sent a strong warning to fishers who are engaging in illegal fishing activities to desist from the act else face punitive measures. “All the fishers using DDT, Dynamite and all forms of obnoxious chemicals, we are coming after you”, he said.
He assured fishers that, all forms of illegal fishing activities will be fought on all fronts, be it trawlers, inshore, or artisanal and appealed to the chief fishermen to spread the news at the end of the training.
He hoped that no one would be made a scapegoat as the Ministry and the Commission stepped up their efforts to halt all illegal activities in Ghanaian waters.
In her opening remarks, the Head of the Fish Health Unit of the Fisheries Commission, Ms. Mary Nkansah, indicated that empirical evidence in recent years
has revealed the use of formalin in preserving high-valued fish species, as well as the high prevalence of dynamite fishing.
She emphasized that the use of formalin, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), and explosives in the fishing industry to preserve fish in the marine sector poses a variety of health risks to the public, in addition to negative environmental consequences.
According to her, the RDTs are able to detect the presence of formalin and explosive residues in fish landings, hence its use along the coastal regions will among other things, increase fishers ‘compliance with fisheries regulations, strengthen the existing fish inspection system, and promote the competitiveness of Ghana’s fish and fishery products for both domestic and foreign markets.
The training instructor, Dr. Stanley Hughes Obresi of the Fish Health, stated, ‘’To infer that the fish is formalin impregnated, the Test Kit Paper must change color from faint to deep blue ‘’. He emphasized that such fish should not be consumed as it can cause cancer.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) procured the RDTs to curb the rampant illegalities and harmful fishing activities within fishing communities.