Keep safety fish standards – Fishers and fish processors urged

Social Fish Safety
Social Fish Safety

Mr Moses Anim, Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD), has urged fishers and fish processors to maintain high safety standards to increase economic value.

He said a highly safe fish food would not only improve the quality of life for their families but provide enormous health benefits for the populace.

Mr Anim said this at the launch of Safe Fish Certification and Licensing Scheme (SFCLS) held in Accra for sector players along the coast to incorporate all processing methods, regulate local, national and international markets .

The Scheme which was piloted in 2018 as a food safety certificate process was a consented approach form the USAID, Fisheries Commission, Ghana Standards Authority and the Food and Drugs Authority.

The Deputy Minister said food safety transcended international boundaries and had global impacts on health, Trade and Development and it was, therefore, important to incorporate systems to regulate and ensure production and consumption of safe and healthy seafood.

“This proactive approach to regulate our small scale fish processing facilities at the local level through subject certification and licensing schemes is very laudable and must be supported by all,” he said.

Mr Anim said people in the sector had a critical role to play to make the regulation a success by ensuring that fish products were safely produced to promote public health.

He said the government had in the past years promoted the use of improved smoking and handling technologies and tools whilst intensifying awareness around food safety and handling practices.

Mr Paul Pleva, USAID Economic Growth Office Director, said: “Fish is an important food for pregnant women and children because it is an inexpensive and readily available source for high quality protein.”

The USAID and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Institution, conducted a research in 2022, and it was revealed that there had been high levels of microbiological chemical contamination in processed fish on the Ghanaian market.

He said the USAID was committed to partnering with government institutions, fishers associations and consumer groups to advance the Safe Fish Certification and Licensing Scheme as a national standard for hygienic fish.

Dr Akua Owusu Amartey, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Food and Drugs Authority, said her outfit would continue to collaborate with agencies to ensure food safety through measures like having personal protective equipment and potable water usage.

“We would continue to give license to sector players that are compliant while those who are not would be sanctioned,” she said.
Fish provided 70 per cent of the overall animal dietary protein consumed in the country and the sector generates over one billion USD in revenue per statistics.

The sector in 2021 produced an estimated 628, 617.5 metric tonnes and it has been said that there are over 30, 000 women participating in Ghana’s artisanal fishery processing sector, coordinating daily business operations.

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