Hawa Koomson wants cooperation in fish death investigations

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Hawa Koomson

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mavis Hawa Koomson, has called for calm, and urged fisher folks at Osu, in the Klotey Korle Municipality in the Greater Accra Region, to cooperate with authorities in the ongoing investigations to ascertain the reasons behind the death of some fishes that were washed ashore on Friday.

She said this is important to ascertain the wholesomeness or otherwise of the fishes before the public consume them.

She also appealed to individuals who had consumed some of the fishes to avail themselves to be placed under medical surveillance.

The Minister made the appeal at a stakeholder durbar held at Osu Anorho in Accra yesterday. The forum was to allow the inter-sectoral committee tasked to investigate the phenomenon to interact with the fisher folks and seek their opinion on the matter.

Concerns

Mrs Koomson noted that even though occasionally some amount of fishes had been washed ashore, the volume and magnitude of what happened over the weekend raised issues of concern.

She said samples had already been taken to the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to be examined, saying the findings would be made public soon.

The Minister said government would not shirk its responsibility of protecting the citizenry, adding that it would do so with the livelihood of the people in mind.

FDA

For her part, the Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Mimi Darko, said her outfit had commenced investigations into the circumstances that led to large scale of fishes being washed ashore dead.

She said the state in which the fishes were found at the beaches made it unwholesome for consumption.

“Even if our investigations prove that they died through natural causes, it is important for us to note that how they were found at the beaches will not make it right for consumption,” she said.

She added that her outfit is there to ensure food safety for all and that is exactly why it is part of the inter-sectoral committee.

Nothing new

In their contribution, some of the fisher folks said the occurrence was nothing new, saying, occasionally, large volume of fishes are washed ashore.

According to them, such incidence occur occasionally due to changes in climatic conditions, and they therefore do not suspect any chemical pollution of the fishes.

Madam Abigail Nortey said she had eaten some of the fish already, and did not believe it was unwholesome.

However, she said due to the call by the Minister, she was going to hold on with the consumption of what she had left in her custody until the report was made public.

Kako

In a related development, the Western Regional Director for FDA, Abu Sumaila, has advised consumers of dried salted fish, popularly called ‘Kako’ ,  to suspend taking in the delicacy for at least a month.

The Authority strongly believes that suspension of consumption of ‘Kako’  will also force all those who collected  some of the   dolphins with plans of processing them to  bring them out for destruction.

He gave this advice in an interview with journalists. He added that it was very necessary not only to save consumers from falling sick but also compounding their economic burden in the face of Covid-19.

He said his office had  already embarked on an intensive educational campaign at Axim and other coastal communities in Western Region, all the way to  Half Assini, to alert and sensitize residents on the need to suspend consumption of ‘Kako’  during the next one month.

 

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