Over the weekend, the news went rife on how hundreds of dolphins and some other fishes were found dead on the sea shore of Ghana, leaving the people in those environs in fear and panic.
This happened in Axim-Bewire in the Nzema East Municipality of the Western Region, Osu in the Greater Accra Region and Keta in the Volta Region.
The Environmental Protection Agency, the Ministry for Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority, subsequently released statements cautioning the general public to desist from buying any cheap and suspicious fishes from these areas.
It is worth noting that the Ministry has called for immediate investigations into the matter on what actually caused the sudden death of these deep-sea fishes.
STATEMENTS FROM THE AUTHORITIES
Information got to Fisheries Commission yesterday, April 3, 2021, in the evening, about fish mortalities sighted at the Osu Castle Beach. A team from the Fish Health Unit and the Fisheries Scientific Survey Division of the Fisheries Commission was dispatched to the area.
Upon arrival at the beach, the team noticed that there were dead small pelagic and demersal fishes at the shore.
Initial observation of the fishes showed no wound /lesions on their bodies. It is to be noted that after two to three days of the death of an animal pathological signs change. Samples of the fish were collected on ice to be examined critically in the laboratory.
Seawater samples have also been collected at the beach in the Korle Klottey District in the Greater Accra Region. Examinations will be carried out on the fish gills and other histological examinations will equally be conducted to ascertain any pathological cause.
The seawater samples collected will be analysed for physical, chemical, and other biological parameters.
The colour of the sea and temperature are normal.
We assure everyone that we are working hard to ascertain the actual cause of mortality of the fish.
The Public Health Alert From the FDA
It is important to note that some people have already consumed these fishes and are not worried by it.
The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mavis Hawa Koomson has pleaded with members of the general public to own up to this act so they can be monitored and their health situation known.
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What happened to these fishes would require a thorough investigation by the authorities. Was the sea poisoned? The majority of the people in the area believe the sea is not treated well, thinking it may be the cause of some unscrupulous people, who always fight for their bellies.
This statement may seem so true, because demersal fishes like the dolphin lives on or near the bottom of the sea floors and for us to see them dead on our shore, is unthinkable.
There are strictly benthic fishes that rest on the sea floor and benthopelagic who can float in the water column just above the sea floor. All these fishes have been affected and with some been extinct.
Was it a disease outbreak? Disease could be a major factor here. Maybe a pandemic crashing the sea. Some diseases are zoonotic, meaning, they can be transfered to humans.
This could be very dangerous if it is found to be one. The Mycobacteruim, Erysipelothrix, Campylobacter, Aeromonas, Vibrio, Edwardsiella, Escherichia, Salmonella. These diseases can cause serious illness in humans.
But in all these, what may be worrying is whether some of these fishes have found their way to land in our markets and on our tables. If so, would it be traceable?
Sadly, no. Because there is no system put in place to check on the kind of foods that come in and out of our markets, and if there is, it only works in the supermarkets and malls.
There are alot of questions that need answers. These are just a few.
Where are the monitory and evaluation teams?
When was the last time we reviewed the fishing laws in the country?
What is the report on the samples that were taken for testing?
Have people owned up to knowingly consuming these fishes? How best are these people being monitored?
Source: Ayensu Bernard Disclaimer