Revised fish standards to fight against harmful contaminants

The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has revealed that its decision to revise the fish standards in the country are aimed at fighting against the application of deadly chemicals and other contaminants harmful to human beings to harvest and process fish.

The GSA made this known when it engaged stakeholders in the fisheries 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 the consuming public.

GSA under the UNIDO-Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), trade capacity building projects developed and revised the national quality standards for the industry, to elaborate on the quality and safety requirements of these standards for the sector.

The move is to help increase the market accessibility of the industry through compliance with standards and also enhance public awareness of the standards as well as to aid compliance with statutory and regulatory requirement.

It would also 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.

Professor Alex Dodoo, Director General of GSA, said, the institution being responsible for all fish exports developed standards to help regulate the sector and ensure that all fish exported did not contain contaminants.

“We feel that it’s important to meet the stakeholders to discuss with them. We need to talk about contaminants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and their problems and also how they could improve quality management 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 a 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 and export it – 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 harmful substances.”

Prof Dodoo expressed concern over the growing aquaculture business in Ghana whose regulation is a “bit dicey”, reiterating that all efforts have to be made to ensure that all fish that were consumable were safe and do not contain anything harmful.

He said GSA was also working to ensure that both the fish consumed locally and exported were safe.

He also warned that the use of car tyres to “burn goats” and smoke fish which introduces hydrocarbons into the fish or meat thereby significantly increasing the risk of cancer.

Mr. Joseph Korto, a fish processor, appealed to GSA to build an office in Tema in proximity to the fishing companies for easy accessibility and aid faster customer care.

By Adu Koranteng