The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has engaged Stakeholders in the Fishery sector to brief them on the revised National Fish Standards and to discuss issues affecting the sector.
The stakeholders comprising vessel operators and land establishments operators discussed how they could help implement the relevant quality and safety standards in the fish industry to ensure safe fish for consuming public.
Fish that are safe do not contain any contaminants that are harmful to humans when consumed, since any such contaminants could cause allergies, itching and cancers and in some cases death.
Most smoked fish are said to contain histamine which cause reactions including asthma and others.
GSA under the UNIDO-Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), Trade capacity building Projects has developed and revised national quality standards for the fish industry, and, therefore, the Authority with support from UNIDO decided to organise the promotional workshop to elaborate on the quality and safety requirements of these standards for the sector.
The workshop, was thus to help increase the market access of the industry through compliance with standards and to enhance public awareness of the standards as well as to aid compliance with statutory and regulatory requirement.
It would also to ensure enhanced stakeholder involvement in the standardisation process which could result in wider ownership of the standards, while improving the knowledge of stakeholders on standards.
Participants were taken through the GS929 Code of Hygienic Practices for fish and GS 236 Requirements for establishing an own Checks system, GS 1131 Code of Practice for the Reduction of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and the Role of GSA in the Ghanaian Fish Industry.
The Participants also discussed the Challenges of Industry in the implementation of the Code of Hygienic Practices.
Professor Alex Dodoo, Director General of GSA, said, the Authority being responsible for all fish exports to the European Union and other countries and so developed standards for the industry to help regulate the sector and to ensure that all fish exported did not contain metallic contaminants and other harmful substances.
“We feel that it’s important to meet the stakeholders to discuss with them. We need to talk about contaminants, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and to talk about their problems and also how they could improve quality managements systems within their sector so that at the end of the day when they export their fish they will make the expected revenue.
“We see the fish industry as very powerful sector for exports and Ghana stands to gain millions of dollars from it. We do know that there are big companies coming to produce fish, package it and export it out of the country- it’s all good but we want to do more.
“And obviously the best way to compete in the world is about your standards, the quality of your fish and the fact that they don’t contain any harmful substances.
Prof Dodoo expressed concern over the growing aquaculture fishing industry in Ghana, with its evolution making its regulation a “bit dicey”, reiterating that all efforts have to be made to ensure that all fish that were consumable were safe an do not contain anything that would harm humans.
He said GSA was also working to ensure that both the fish consumed locally and those that were exported, were safe for all categories of people both home and abroad.
He also warned that the use of car tyres to “burn goats“, and to smoke fish and introducing hydrocarbons, all increases significantly, the risk of cancer.
Mr Joseph Korto, a Fish Processor, appealed to GSA to build an office in Tema, where most of the fish companies were based for easy accessibility and to aid faster customer care.
He also appealed to GSA to have standby machines and equipment to quickly replace breakdown machines.