Aquaculture centre. (Photo Credit: Sarnissa)
Concerns expressed over tilapia import ban
Tuesday, September 02, 2014, 02:30 (GMT + 9)
Ghana’s agricultural producers' union has expressed concerns over the government’s strategic policy after the ban imposed on tilapia imports in an effort to boost local aquaculture.
Through Ghana’s Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), the sector voiced Ghanaians’ fears over the lack of an alternative arrangement to meet the consumption needs for the massive shortfalls in supply that will be created by the ban, Ventures Africa reported.
The union’s Deputy General Secretary Edward Kareweh requested the corresponding authorities to offer further clarification.
“It is not everybody who will support the ban therefore those people require an explanation why the ban is necessary and for how long it will last, whether it will be a permanent one, or it is going to be for a short while,” he stated.
However, Ghana’s Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Sherry Ayitey described the government’s decision to ban fish imports, in particular tilapia fish, which is a very popular part of Ghanaian cuisine, as “necessary to spur growth in the budding local aquaculture sub-sector.”
In her opinion, the ban will boost the local industry’s participation and create 50,000 jobs.
More than 90 per cent of Ghana’s annual fish demand of 880,000 tonnes is serviced by imports which cost USD 2 billion annual while only a little over 4 per cent is produced locally.
Minister Ayitey also admitted that for Ghana’s fish to be accepted locally and internationally, all fisheries laws must be implemented to ensure that lights, dynamite, mercury and other dangerous chemicals are not used in the country’s waters.
Combatting illegal fishing is another challenge for the country.
Ghana’s Director of Naval Training Captain (GN) Emmanuel A. Kwafov told reporters that as part of the law enforcement, tracking devices have been installed on all tuna vessels and trawlers as well it becoming illegal for any vessel to go fishing in the country’s waters without the device.